Botswana Ruling Party Poised to Extend 53-Year Hold on Power

(Bloomberg) --

The Botswana Democratic Party is poised for an election victory that would extend its 53-year-old hold on power.

With counting continuing overnight in the southern African state hailed as the continent’s oldest long-standing democracy, the BDP needed just three more constituencies to reach a majority. The Chief Justice is ready to officially announce the winner of the elections, Osupile Maroba, a spokesman for the Independent Electoral Commission, told reporters Friday in Gaborone, the capital.

By 6 a.m., 40 of the 57 constituencies that make up Botswana’s parliament were confirmed, with the BDP winning 26 and the main opposition party, Umbrella for Democracy, taking 11. The Botswana Patriotic Front, a breakaway party formed by former President Ian Khama, managed two seats, while the Alliance for Progressives had one.

Under the constitution, the first party to reach 29 seats, or two thirds of the 57 parliamentary seats, wins the election and has the right to form the new government.

Trend analysis show that the BDP’s pending victory was built on voters in Botswana’s southern regions -- traditionally opposition strongholds. The ruling party also retained key constituencies in the West and North, while the opposition UDC was able to power into the Central District, previously the exclusive domain of the ruling party.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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