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Namibia Tallies National Election Votes

Results widely expected to return ruling party to power

Namibia is counting ballots cast in national elections that are widely expected to return the country's ruling party to power.

Election officials reported no major problems at the end of the two-day voting period Saturday.

President Hifikepunye Pohambam faced 11 challengers in the election. He is expected to win a second, five-year term in office.

The president's ruling party, SWAPO (South West African People's Organization), also is expected to hold on to its two-third majority in parliament, despite the challenge of a new breakaway party.

A former foreign minister (Hidipo Hamutenya) formed the new party, the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), after losing a bid to lead SWAPO two years ago.

SWAPO has dominated politics since Namibia won independence from South Africa in 1990.

Results are expected in a few days.

Since winning independence, Namibia's government has been praised for improving education and health care. But poverty remains a major problem, despite rich deposits of diamonds and uranium.

Namibian election officials say the second day of voting went relatively smoothly Saturday, after two polling officials were arrested Friday. They were accused of tampering with the ballot boxes.