Parliamentary Chamber: Constituent/National Assembly


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  Constituent/National Assembly

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  7 November 1989
11 November 1989

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats of the Constituent Assembly. Under the terms of the transitional provisions of the 1990 Constitution, this same body became the National Assembly on 21 March 1990 (Independence Day).

Background and outcome of elections:

  Namibia was ruled by South Africa since 1915. In 1978, a plan for the territory’s independence was drafted by the United Nations. South Africa did not agree to begin implementing the timetable until a regional peace accord was reached in December 1988 that linked Namibia’s freedom to the withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola. The Constituent Assembly to be chosen was to draft the Constitution under which Namibia would become independent. Polling preparations were supervised by peacekeeping troops, police and civilian officials from the UN Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG).

Registration of voters took place from 3 July to 23 September, and that of parties until 26 September; each party was required to have the support of at least 2,000 electors. The polling dates were confirmed on 22 September and the somewhat acrimonious electoral campaign had commenced in June.

Main challengers for the 72 Assembly seats were the liberation movement South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) and the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA), a coalition of conservative and moderate parties representing various ethnic groups. There were altogether 10 contesting parties or fronts, and some 720 candidates. The voting process, closely monitored by the UN, proved orderly as a high turnout of some 96% was recorded.

According to final polling results announced on 14 November, the left-wing SWAPO, as predicted, won a majority of seats (41) but failed to gain the two-thirds margin that would have enabled it alone to draft the independence Constitution. The South-African-backed DTA, captured 21 seats. Nine of those elected were Whites.

Given this outcome, the SWAPO leader, Mr. Sam Nujoma, announced his organization’s readiness to co-operate with rival parties in drawing up the Constitution. The Constituent Assembly first met on 21 November, and completed its task on 9 February 1990 with the adoption of the independence Constitution. On 21 March (Independence Day), Mr. Nujoma was sworn in as Namibia’s first President of the Republic; the same day, a multiracial Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Hage Geingob (SWAPO) also assumed office.

Round no 1 (7 to 11 November 1989): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 701,483
Voters 670,830 (95.63%)

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Votes %
South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) 384,567 57.32
Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) 191,532 28.55
United Democratic Front (UDF) 37,874 5.64
Action Christian National (ACN) 23,728 3.53
National Patriotic Front (NPF) 10,693 1.59
Federal Convention of Namibia (FCN) 10,452 1.55
Namibia National Front (NNF) 5,344 0.79
Others 6,640 0.94

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) 41
Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) 21
United Democratic Front (UDF) 4
Action Christian National (ACN) 3
National Patriotic Front (NPF) 1
Federal Convention of Namibia (FCN) 1
Namibia National Front (NNF) 1
Others 0

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 67
Women: 5

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Copyright 1989 Inter-Parliamentary Union