Presidential re-run is allowed

There will be no sharing of votes to get anyone over the line, the ECN says.

29 October 2019 | Politics

The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) says if none of the candidates in the upcoming presidential race wins 50+1% of the votes, the law dictates a re-run.

There will be no sharing of votes to get anyone over the line, the electoral body told Namibian Sun.

Also, candidates will be allowed to withdraw from the re-run, and will then be able to advise their supporters to vote for someone else if they so wish.

ECN's chief electoral officer Theo Mujoro explained that the law is very clear that the candidate who obtains 50% plus one vote is declared the winner.

According to him, only the first and second candidates will be allowed to participate in the rerun if no candidate obtains the 50 plus one vote in the first round.

“Every candidate is contesting on their own as individuals and there is no 'block or alliance'. Unless political parties can have their own inter-party arrangements where a particular party encourages their followers to vote for a particular candidate in the presidential election,” Mujoro said.

President Hage Geingob of the ruling party Swapo is up against 10 other aspirants for the position he currently holds.

These include McHenry Venaani of official opposition Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), independent candidate Panduleni Itula and former //Karas governor Bernadus Swartbooi.

Also challenging for the state presidency next month are Mike Kavekotora (Rally for Democracy and Progress), Nudo president Esther Utjiua Muinjangue, All People's Party (APP) leader Ignatius Shixwameni and United Democratic Front (UDF) leader Apius Auchab.

Dr Tangeni Iijambo of Swanu, the Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters' (NEFF) Epafrans Mukwiilongo and the Republican Party's Henk Mudge are also in the race.

According to political commentator Ndumba Kamwanyah, chances do exist that Namibia may not have an outright winner after next month's presidential election and may see a second run-off.

Iijambo is one such candidate who is willing to ask his voters to rally behind another candidate.

However this decision may be difficult for the Swanu leader, a staunch socialist.

“Most of the parties in this country are reactionary. So it would be difficult for me to just rally my supporters behind any Tom, Dick and Harry,” he said.

Mudge however has mixed feelings about giving up his support, saying the concern is that the political opposition is too fragmented and in most cases most politicians are too self-centred.

Although he may give up his support, it would require to think long and hard.

“If I do not get enough votes, I will rally behind somebody else for the sake of the opposition. But that is farfetched. That will not happen. I cannot see that any opposition candidate can really make a strong candidate,” he said.

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JEMIMA BEUKES

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