Botswana votes in general election

Botswana goes to the polls today (Wednesday 23rd October 2019) to elect a new Parliament. The contest looks to be very close between the governing conservative Botswana Democratic Party and the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change which includes parties covering a range of centrist, liberal and left wing ideologies. Two smaller parties will also be competing.

The electoral system in Botswana is very similar to that of the UK historically. Voters must be 18 or older, have been resident in the country for 12 months before the vote, and not disqualified by being imprisoned for 6 months or more, declared insane, convicted of an electoral offence, under a death sentence or holding dual citizenship. Candidates must be over 21, not bankrupt and have a good command of English. 

57 of the 63 seats in the legislative body will be elected from first-past-the-post single member constituencies. Four more are appointed by the governing party and the remaining two are held by the President and Attorney-General ex officio.

A good backgrounder on the election, and the falling out between the former President and his successor has been written by Joseph Cotterill in the FT.