Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Namibia's election complications

Two Namibian opposition parties are threatening to apply to the courts to stop regional and local government elections  unless results from the previous elections are finalised before then. The previous vote was a year ago. The courts still haven't ruled on a legal challenge and opposition says it is because the decision does not favour the ruling party.

After Namibia voted in national and presidential elections a year ago (November 2009), a group of nine opposition parties charged Swapo and the Electoral Commission with vote-rigging. The court case has been concluded by judgement has not yet been returned.This means that the challenges in the previous election have still not been resolved a year after the election took place. Of course, it is necessary to allow the legal system to take its course but a year seems a very long time for a country to be without clarity in national and presidential elections.

It also seems a little unusual for the electoral commission - one of the respondents in the legal challenge - to be organising another election before they have been cleared of the vote-rigging charges.It is entirely possible the challenge is bogus but it seems a little problematic that it should not be dealt with before the next round of voting begins.

Assuming no delay, this voting will take place on 26 and 27 November 2010. It will be interesting to see if the delayed ruling on the legal challenge affects, in any way, legitimacy and voter interest in these local and regional elections.

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