General elections are scheduled to be held in Botswana on 23 October 2019. Election day will be declared a public holiday.
Following the 2014 elections, there were two opposition factions in parliament; the Umbrella for Democratic Change (an alliance of the Botswana National Front, the Botswana Movement for Democracy and the Botswana People’s Party), and the Botswana Congress Party (BCP). In February 2017 the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) also joined the Umbrella for Democratic Change, uniting all parliamentary opposition parties. However, in October 2017, the Alliance for Progressives, led by Ndaba Gaolathe, was formed as a breakaway from the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). In October 2018, the BMD was expelled from the coalition after it refused to forgo contesting constituencies that had originally been allocated to it.
On 1 April 2018 Mokgweetsi Masisi of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) was sworn in as Botswana’s fifth president, replacing Ian Khama. The BDP held its primary elections on 20 January and 25 August 2018 to select its candidates, with over 1,300 candidates running to be selected to contest the general elections. Following a falling out with Masisi, Khama left the BDP in May 2019 and announced that he would campaign against his former party and support the Botswana Patriotic Front.
The 63 members of the National Assembly consisted of 57 MPs elected in single-member constituencies by first-past-the-post, four members appointed by the governing party, and two ex-officio members (the President and the Attorney General).
Voters are required to be Botswana citizens at least 18 years old who had been resident in the country for at least 12 months prior to voter registration. People declared insane, holding dual citizenship, under a death sentence, convicted of an electoral offence or imprisoned for at least six months are not allowed to vote. Candidates need to be Botswana citizens at least 21 years old, without an undischarged bankruptcy, and be able to speak and read English sufficiently well to take part in parliamentary proceedings.
Several proposed amendments to the Electoral Law, including the introduction of electronic voting and an increase in nomination fees were dropped in September 2018.
Sources and further reading:
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