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Namibia - 2004 Elections

Sam Nujoma, leader of the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO), was President from Namibia's independence in 1990 until 2005 (a constitutional amendment permitted the founding president his third term). Nujoma handed over to his successor, Hifikepunye Pohamba in March 2005.

The November 2004 Presidential and National Assembly elections saw SWAPO retain the presidency and gain 55 of the 72 seats in the NA. Presidential and parliamentary elections were held on November 15 and 16. Hifikepunye Pohamba, SWAPO Party candidate and Minister of Lands, Resettlement, and Rehabilitation, was elected President with 76.4 percent of the vote; SWAPO won 55 of 72 elected National Assembly seats. Pohamba was inaugurated in March 2005 in conjunction with celebrations marking the country's fifteenth anniversary. Pohamba was elected President with 76.4% of the vote. SWAPO won 55 of the 72 elected seats in the National Assembly.

In the National Assembly, 6 opposition parties won seats: The Congress of Democrats Party, the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance, the United Democratic Front, the National United Democratic Organization, the Republican Party, and the Monitor Action Group. The six opposition parties won a total of 17 seats, including the Congress of Democrats party, which won the largest number of opposition votes; the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance; the National Unity Democratic Organization; the United Democratic Front; the Republican Party; and the Monitor Action Group.

Much was made of the "born frees," the generation of eligible voters born after Namibia's independence in 1990. This group, which participating in its first national election in 2009, does not have the memories of the pre-liberation era. At least 20 percent of the electorate falls between the ages of 18 and 24. Analysts watched to see if SWAPO's liberation rhetoric, which is at the heart of its political platform, resonates with these younger voters.

International and domestic observers characterized both elections as free and reflecting the will of the electorate despite some irregularities. Observers criticized the inefficient vote tabulation system and the unequal access to media coverage and campaign financing. However certain shortcomings in the process led to a review of the electoral law, to take place before the next elections in 2009.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba adopted an anti-corruption stance right from the start of his tenure. Among other things, he urged the heads of all state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to take action against corruption. In 2005, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) was established and has since received increasing resources from the budget. Actions were taken against officials, including a member of Cabinet, in several high-profile cases of corruption.

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