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Over 350 000 failed to vote

2014-12-03  Mathias Haufiku

Over 350 000 failed to vote
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WINDHOEK – Of the 1.2 million registered voters 350 500 did not vote in the presidential and National Assembly elections. The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) Chairperson Notemba Tjipueja on Monday announced that slightly over 890 000 people voted in both elections. The results also show that some only voted in the National Assembly election and not the presidential election. ECN Director of Elections Professor Paul Isaak said the commission still needed to sit down and evaluate the results and could therefore not say much about the number of votes not cast. “We want to address all issues, not only voting, but all the challenging issues. I need time to reflect on that,” said Isaak. Isaak maintained the elections were free, fair, transparent and credible. “There were challenges including the long waiting lines and we shall come together as ECN to discuss all aspects within the next days,” said Isaak. President Hifikepunye Pohamba, the Prime Minister Dr Hage Geingob and DTA leader McHenry Venaani, as well as the chairperson of the ECN Advocate Notemba Tjipueja, were all unable to touch on the reasons for the large number of people who did not vote across the country. ECN has come under heavy fire for its running of the local elections, with figures suggesting up to a third of Namibia’s eligible voters failed to cast their votes. Thousands of disgruntled voters complained after Friday’s polls of being disadvantaged because of the long queues at polling stations and malfunctioning polling equipment, while others claimed the decision to hold the polls in one day exacerbated the situation. The Namibia National Electoral and Democratic Processes Baseline Survey 2012 released earlier this year highlighted that a large number of respondents in urban areas do not recognize the importance of holding elections every five years in Namibia. “The majority of respondents across all regions, both urban and rural, believe that an individual may contest, as an independent candidate, for the portfolio of constituency councillor,” indicated the survey. Most of the respondents also indicated that they receive more voter education from electoral commission officials instead of political parties. “75.7 percent of the rural respondents indicated radio as the most effective medium of communication. In urban areas television was the second highest followed by newspapers,” indicated the survey. By Mathias Haufiku
2014-12-03  Mathias Haufiku

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