n Journal of African Elections - A note on the Namibian National Assembly Elections of 2009




This paper argues that the general elections of 2009 managed to consolidate the hold of the South West Africa People's Organisation (Swapo) on the body politic in Namibia. The expectation and perception that the formation of a new opposition party, by former members of the ruling party, would challenge the dominance of the ruling party has not materialised. What has transpired is that the Rally for Democracy and Progress has eroded the support of the Congress of Democrats (CoD) and has replaced it as the official opposition. This situation is a repetition of that in 2004, when the CoD, as a newly formed opposition party, displaced the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) as the major opposition party. The pattern of electoral politics reveals that the formation of opposition parties does not necessarily translate into a loss for the ruling party. The incumbency advantage enjoyed by Swapo seems to explain this. Furthermore, this paper posits the theory that the institutional mechanisms put in place to ensure free and fair elections require fundamental changes. What is also critical for electoral politics to succeed and for democracy to be consolidated in Namibia is that the political playing field needs to be extended in terms of media coverage for opposition parties and the provision of adequate funding, without which these parties will be unable to function properly.


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