Botswana Prez re-elected despite strong opposition challenge

Botswana President Ian Khama saw off the biggest challenge posed by the opposition since independence, winning a second term in power on Sunday as his ruling party secured a majority at the polls.

AFP| Updated: Oct 26, 2014, 20:45 PM IST

Gaborone: Botswana President Ian Khama saw off the biggest challenge posed by the opposition since independence, winning a second term in power on Sunday as his ruling party secured a majority at the polls.

Khama "has been re-elected as the President of the Republic" said High Court Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo, after his party the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) garnered at least 34 of the 57 parliamentary seats.

With tallying still ongoing for seven seats, it is unclear if the ruling party will match its previous election result of 41 seats.

An opposition coalition called the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has meanwhile won 14 seats, while another opposition group, Botswana Congress Party, has secured two.

Khama, 61, who is the son of the country's first president, Seretse Khama, will be inaugurated tomorrow.

Friday's general elections had been billed as the most challenging for the ruling party, which has governed the diamond-rich, sparsely populated country bordering South Africa since it gained independence from Britain in 1966.

Opposition parties had in particular made inroads in urban areas, following the formation in 2010 of a breakaway party, the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD).

The BMD is now part of the UDC coalition, led by Duma Boko, which has won seats in districts which were once strongholds of the ruling party, including in capital Gaborone.

"The UDC did well for a new party, but naturally we were hoping for more votes to topple the BDP. It was never to be," said Seakamela Mortised, a UDC party representative.