Botswana′s ruling party wins parliamentary elections | News | DW | 26.10.2014
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Botswana's ruling party wins parliamentary elections

The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has renewed its parliamentary majority, according to election commission officials. The BDP's victory also sets up President Ian Khama for a second term in office.

Botswana's election commission announced on Sunday that the governing BDP won at least 29 out of 57 parliamentary seats in general elections over the weekend, extending the party's nearly 50-year political dominance over the wealthy Southern African nation.

In Botswana, parliament elects the head of state. That means incumbent President Ian Khama (pictured) has also secured a second five-year term in office. He is expected to take the oath of office on Tuesday.

Khama is a former general and the scion of Botswana's first president, Seretse Khama. As the traditional tribal chief of the Bangwato clan, Khama benefited from strong rural support.

But the newly formed opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) made inroads in urban areas, securing 12 seats in parliament. The UDC has accused Khama of governing in an increasingly authoritarian fashion.

"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 Motsoaledi, a UDC party representative.

Botswana has long been considered one of Africa's major success stories. Formerly one of the poorest nations in the world, Botswana has managed to build a prosperous economy based on diamond mining and a stable political system.

But the global financial crisis has lead to a drop in diamond prices, resulting in slower growth and higher unemployment.

slk/mg (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)