March 16, 2005

Vote recount confirms ruling party victory

The recount of votes cast in Namibia's national elections, which was demanded by two opposition parties, has won a court ruling ordering the recount. The opposition parties had alleged that the voters' roll was inflated, and the unusually high turnout of around 85 percent of the electorate was "questionable". The discovery of 22 abandoned ballot papers - some of them half burnt - all cast in favour of opposition parties, was also seized on as evidence of irregularities. About 800 government officials from across the country were summoned in Windhoek to help recount about 820.000 ballots. Opposition parties, NGOs and human rights observers were also invited to send observers. The results of the recount mean there will be no change in seat allocations in Namibia's parliament. Although the recount did differ from the results in November, in that there were some 9.400 fewer ballot papers counted, the ruling SWAPO party lost just 178 votes. Only one opposition party gained more than 1.000 votes in the recount, the United Democratic Front, while eight others gained a few hundred votes. (The Namibian, Windhoek)

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