Nov 29, 2014 6:48 AM

Namibia ruling party leads in early vote results

The Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG (AP) The presidential candidate of Namibia's ruling party was leading by a wide margin on Saturday in preliminary results from elections that were mostly smooth despite scattered delays and the frustration of some voters who were turned away from polling stations.

Hage Geingob, the current prime minister and presidential candidate for the ruling SWAPO party, was ahead with 77 percent of the vote with about 10 percent of 121 constituencies counted, the country's election panel said.

Geingob's nearest rival is Hidipo Hamutenya, a former ruling party member who formed an opposition group, the Rally for Democracy and Progress. He had nearly 8 percent of the vote, according to election officials.

Final results from Friday's elections were expected later Saturday.

The SWAPO party has ruled Namibia since independence in 1990. The current president, Hifikepunye Pohamba, has served two five-year terms and is barred by law from running for a third term.

Some 1.2 million Namibians, about half the population, were eligible to vote at several thousand polling stations, which used electronic voting machines instead of the old ballot paper system.

Some polling stations reported technical glitches with the new voting machines, and some voters were turned away from polling stations before they were able to vote, according to the Namibia Press Agency.

"This is a worrying and disturbing situation for the party. This could also affect the credibility of the elections," the agency quoted Helmut Angula, the ruling party's information secretary, as saying.

The ruling party demanded an explanation from the election commission, which has acknowledged what it described as "teething problems" with the new voting machines but said the vote would deliver a credible result.


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