Wednesday, 23 October 2019 07:43

The voters in Botswana head to the polls today for crucial general elections in one of Africa’s most stable democracies.

Over 900,000 registered voters are expected to cast their ballots across the country to elect members of the national assembly.

The government has declared October 23 – 25 as public holidays to allow for full participation of citizens in the democratic process.

The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has won every election in Botswana since independence in 1966, but this year there is a real chance that could change.

Three of the opposition parties have united under the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).

Botswana is often called an African success story - its independence was achieved without the bloodshed experienced by some of its neighbours, it has never had a civil war and its elections are usually unmarred by violence.

The election at a glance:

  • BDP - won every election since independence, led by Mokgweetsi Masisi
  • UDC - coalition formed in 2012, led by Duma Boko
  • BPF - founded by former President Ian Khama, led by Biggie Butale
  • Voters elect 57 national assembly members, and 490 local government representatives
  • The president is chosen by the National Assembly for a five-year term
  • The leader of the political party with most seats in parliament usually becomes president