November 19, 2004

Pohamba heads for massive win

With provisional results, Swapo Party's presidential candidate Hifikepunye Pohamba looked likely to score an overwhelming majority in the presidential race, beating his rivals by huge margins. Analysts believe Pohamba's win could even be higher than the one scored by his mentor President Sam Nujoma who won the 1999 presidential race with a clear majority of 77 percent. With a strong north-central base, political experts had forecast that as the voter turnout increased, Swapo winning the election was a done deal. Referring to trends in the early election results, a researcher at the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR), Graham Hopwood, noted that Swapo had made inroads in constituencies that were previously strongholds for its opposition rivals. One of them is the Omaheke Region, where Hopwood says Swapo garnered 10 percent more support, while the DTA had somehow dipped in its support there. "The north-central region of the country definitely seems to be going for candidate Pohamba, and Swapo is the much more dominant party," said Hopwood. He was surprised by the high voter turnout in the preliminary results saying, "eighty percent is a rather high turnout in any democracy and the main beneficiary of this is Pohamba."

Predictions are that the ruling party might even get a two-thirds majority, but this remains to be seen as provisional results had only been released from the Omaheke, Ohangwena, Kunene and Hardap regions. The ruling party has benefited from its highly-spirited campaign over the past year and the opposition parties seem to have paid dearly for starting their campaigns only weeks before both the presidential and parliamentary polls. The United Democratic Front (UDF) has so far held its support base in areas like Sesfontein in the Kunene Region, while the DTA somehow lost a substantial number of votes to Swapo in the Omaheke and Kunene regions and analysts say parties like Nudo are now struggling. (New Era, Windhoek)

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