Officials in Namibia say preliminary results from this week’s presidential election will be reported instead on Saturday because of delays in counting results that “could not be finalized as expected.”
“The ECN experienced unexpected connectivity challenges in certain constituencies relating to the transmission of election results,” said the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) in a statement. Those affected came from parts of Windhoek and six other regions, with an analysis from The Namibian suggesting results may indicate loss of support for incumbent President Hage Geingob in urban areas.
Yet Geingob was holding a strong lead late Friday with roughly 80 percent of the southern African nation’s constituencies counted. Geingob and his ruling South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) party held 66.4 percent of the vote. His strongest challenger, independent Panduleni Itula, had 15.7 percent of votes cast while the third-place candidate, Bernardus Swartbooi of the Landless People’s Movement (LPM) was at 5.2 percent.
Geingob has pressed advantage as the candidate to whom SWAPO remains loyal, while fending off concerns over Namibia’s struggling economy and a major corruption scandal that blew up days before the election. Itula, a dentist and longtime SWAPO member, emerged from internal party clashes as a challenger with a progressive, youth-oriented vision for Namibia’s stagnant economy.
The incumbent received 92.5 percent of the vote during 2014 elections, but Namibians are turning to alternatives in this election, which featured 11 candidates. Most of them have attracted less than 2 percent of the tally each.
The process has been mostly peaceful, with a number of African Union and Southern African Development Community observers on hand. The SADC, which said it sent 53 observers from eight member nations, said during a press conference Friday that at least one demonstration was shut down by police using tear gas.
Image: Namibian presidency file