Namibia votes in its sixth election today since winning independence from South Africa in 1990. Elections will be held both for Parliament and to elect the President. Fifteen parties have put forward candidates for the Namibian Parliament, while nine people are running for President.
The governing South West African People’s Organisation (Swapo), which has been in power since independence, is expected to easily retain power once again. The party has never won less than three-quarters of the vote since the country won independence, and it is unlikely that the status quo will be challenged in today’s election.
The party’s candidate for President, Hage Geingob, is also the sitting Namibian President (having served since 2015) and is unlikely to be challenged in any way at the polls.
In 2014 Swapo won 80% of the vote in the parliamentary election, with Geingob winning nearly 90% of the vote in the presidential ballot.
The first independent candidate in Namibian history is standing for President: Panduleni Itula. Although Itula is running as an independent he is still a member of Swapo, having argued that he does not need to resign his membership of the party to run as an independent. The election is also the first one where a woman is a presidential candidate. Esther Muinjangue is the candidate of the Namibian Unity Democratic Organisation.
This election will also have electronic voting machines (the second time they are being used) although their use has been criticized by some.