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National Assembly

A historical Archive of past election results for this chamber can be found on a separate page

Parliament name National Assembly
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 30 October 2004
Purpose of elections Elections were held for all the popularly chosen members of Parliament on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.
On 17 September 2004, President Festus Mogae called an election for 30 October 2004. At stake were 57 seats of an enlarged National Assembly and 490 local council wards. The redrawing of boundaries in 2003 led to 17 new constituencies, added to the 40 in the outgoing legislature. There are six additional parliamentary seats, four co-opted and 2 assigned to the President of the country and the Attorney General.

It was the first time in the country's history since its independence in 1966 that international observers were allowed to monitor the electoral process. Observers from the Southern African Developing Community (SADC), the African Union, the Commonwealth and the United Nations were present in the country and monitored the elections together with some 11,000 trained personnel from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

With these elections, Botswana became the first country to test a new electoral code of conduct adopted by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in August 2004. Entitled 'Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections', the code had been endorsed by regional leaders during a SADC summit held in Mauritius. It called for adherence to internationally accepted norms such as allowing all parties to campaign freely, ensuring equal access to the state media and establishing impartial electoral institutions.

The IEC ran media campaigns to encourage voter registration, which had to be extended because of voter apathy. While the IEC declared it had reached its target of registering almost half a million voters, the main opposition Botswana National Front (BNF) accused the IEC of making fundamental errors over the registration of votes, with poor voter education.

In the final analysis, official records showed that 552 849 voters had registered, that was 61.4 per cent of the estimated 900 000 persons of voting-age. In 1999, 57.5 per cent of eligible voters had registered.

Seven parties fielded candidates for 56 of the 57 parliamentary seats. Vice President Ian Khama, the son of Botswana's first President, was the unopposed BDP candidate in the Serowe North constituency.

The country, which is the world's leading producer of raw diamonds, had under the governing party used its mineral wealth to propel itself from a poor agriculture-based nation at independence to a middle-income country. Per capita GDP in 2003 stood at $3 800, one of the highest in Africa. Despite a buoyant multi-party democracy and mineral wealth geared to development, Botswana is grappling with the world's second highest AIDS rate after Swaziland, with 37.3 per cent of its population living with HIV and AIDS. However, easy access to life-prolonging anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) coupled with President Mogae's personal commitment to fight AIDS - he has undergone testing to set an example for his countrymen - had left the opposition with little ammunition to attack the government's record.

During the electoral campaign, for the first time, all parties used billboards, along with television, radio and press adverts. However, opposition leaders said their media access was too little too late to win votes in the polls. Following a two-month survey, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) said the ruling party had received over 50 per cent of media coverage.

President Mogae, who is also leader of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), the party that had ruled the country since its independence, promised voters improved training so that they can find jobs - and an extension of water and electricity supplies. He also promised to amend all laws that discriminate against women. However, none of the parties had fielded a significant number of women candidates. The BDP had seven, the BNF three, and the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) two.

The opposition campaigned on a platform of fighting poverty and unemployment but it remained weak and fractured despite an electoral pact between the biggest party, the Botswana National Front (BNF), and two other small parties, the Botswana People's Party and the Botswana Alliance Movement. The BNF-led pact faced competition for opposition votes from the Botswana Congress Party, which had split from the BNF in 1998.

The results showed that the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) had won 44 of the 57 seats. 12 seats went to the Botswana National Front and the remaining one to the Botswana Congress Party. Only four out of the 57 elected MPs are women.

On 1 November 2004, President Festus Mogae was sworn in by the Chief Justice for his second term of office.
Voter turnout
Round no 130 October 2004
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
421'272 (76.2%)
Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political Group Candidates Votes %
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)
Botswana National Front (BNF)
Botswana Congress Party (BCP)
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) 44
Botswana National Front (BNF) 12
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) 1
Distribution of seats according to sex
Percent of women
Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
The distribution of seats according to political parties only takes into account the 57 directly elected seats.

Source: Daily News Online

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