BOTSWANA
Parliamentary Chamber: National Assembly

ELECTIONS HELD IN 1999

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Chamber:
  National Assembly


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  16 October 1999


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the elective seats on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.


Background and outcome of elections:

  In view of the general elections, the National Assembly was dissolved in early August 1999. Polling was also scheduled for 406 local council wards.

Seven parties were in contention for the Assembly's 40 elective seats (four others are co-opted). Among these was the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), in power since independence in 1966. It faced a divided opposition, primarily caused by split in the Botswana National Front (BNF) in July 1998, which had led to the creation of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP). The five-party Botswana Alliance Movement (BAM) also challenged the BDP. Issues debated during the relatively low-key campaign mainly concerned the high rates of poverty and unemployment, and equitable wealth and resource distribution in a country which had amassed large foreign currency reserves especially from its diamond industry. Also of high concern was the AIDS epidemic ravaging the population. In this connection, President of the Republic Fetus Mogae (who had succeeded Sir Ketumile Masire in April 1998) promised prudent management of the reserves, a tax liberalization regime to diversify Botswana's industrial base and a renewed assault on the epidemic. BNF leader Kenneth Koma criticized the Government's economic policy, saying it had concentrated on developing urban areas at the expense of rural ones, while BCP leader Michael Dingake accused the Government of complacency, stating that it had been too long in power and over-praised for its economic performance.

On polling day, the rural-based BDP, despite dissension within its ranks, swept to victory by picking up an additional six seats to arrive at 33. While the centre-left BNF gained four seats, the BCP virtually disappeared by dropping from 11 to one, its leader noting that voters could not forgive it for dividing the opposition vote against the ruling party.

Given this outcome, Mr. Mogae was re-elected as President on 20 October. He also heads the Cabinet.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (16 October 1999): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 459 662
Voters 354 463 (77 %)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 17 481
Valid votes 336 982

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Candidates Votes %
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) 40 192 598 57.00
Botswana National Front (BNF) 38 87 459 26.00
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) 38 40 096 12.00
Botswana Alliance Movement (BAM) 17 15 805 5.00

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) 33
Botswana National Front (BNF) 6
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) 1
Botswana Alliance Movement (BAM) 0

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 39
Women: 8
Percent of women: 17.02


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Copyright 1999 Inter-Parliamentary Union