Namibia’s incumbent President Hage Geingob has won the 2019 presidential election – following Wednesday’s vote – with 56.3% of the vote, the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) said on Saturday Nov. 30, 2019.
Geingob, Namibia’s third leader since the sparsely populated and mostly arid country freed itself from South Africa in 1990, was seeking a second and final term in the Nov. 27 election.
His SWAPO party is contending with an economy in recession for nearly three years, one of Namibia’s worst droughts and its biggest corruption scandal – all of which conspired to make the vote unexpectedly tough for Geingob.
He faced nine challengers including Panduleni Itula, a dentist-turned-politician who is a SWAPO member but running as an independent. Itula is popular with young people, nearly half of whom are unemployed.
Geingob, was first elected in 2014 with 87% of the vote. This year he won with just over 56%; Itula followed with over 28% and the leader of the official opposition party, McHenry Venaani, was in third position with around 5%.
A SWAPO victory could be disputed after a court threw out a case mounted by the opposition against the use of electronic voting machines it fears would be used to cheat.
(Reporting by Nyasha Nyaungwa; Editing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Mark Heinrich)