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Namibians Vote on 2nd Day of National Elections

  • Scott Bobb

In Namibia, voting continued on the second and last day of the country's presidential and parliamentary elections. President Hifikepunye Pohamba and his South West Africa People's Organization are expected to win despite a challenge from a new breakaway party.

In Namibia, voting continued on the second and last day of the country's presidential and parliamentary elections. President Hifikepunye Pohamba and his South West Africa People's Organization are expected to win despite a challenge from a new breakaway party.

Namibian Election officials say the second day of polling went relatively smoothly although lines were long early in the morning in heavily populated areas of the country.

Some polling stations stayed open late Friday on the first day of the balloting because voters were still in line at closing time.

The director of the national Electoral Commission, Moses Ndjarakana, told reporters Friday night that the balloting for the most part had gone smoothly.

"Over the 90 percent of the more than 3,000 polling stations, fixed and mobile, countrywide opened on time this morning and no logistical problems or challenges worth mentioning were experienced," he said. "I am particularly happy to inform the nation that no incidents of violence were observed since the opening of the polls this morning."

He said, however, that two polling officers were arrested before the polls opened Friday after they were found opening boxes containing what he called sensitive materials.

He added that some stations experienced minor difficulties in operating the electronic registration rolls and party observers arrived at some polling stations without proper accreditation. But he said these problems were quickly resolved and overall he was satisfied with the process.

The South West Africa People's Organization, which has dominated Namibian politics since independence nearly 20 years ago, is expected to retain power. And President Hifikepunye Pohamba is expected to be elected to a second five-year term.

But SWAPO has been challenged by the emergence of a new party, the Rally for Democracy and Progress.

The RDP was formed two years ago after its leader, former foreign Minister Hidipo Hamutenya, failed in his effort to take over the SWAPO leadership upon the retirement of Namibia's first president Sam Nujoma.

A 20-year-old university student who calls himself Natangwe voted for the first time. He said Namibia's leaders must tackle several priority issues.

"The first thing is corruption, the education system, and we need more universities to be built in Namibia," said Natangwe.

Fourteen parties and 12 presidential candidates campaigned for the votes of the country's one million registered voters.

Preliminary results are expected in a few days.

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