Botswana’s main opposition party, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), has taken an early lead on Thursday in the initial results from the nation’s parliamentary election held on Wednesday.

At the time of going to press, only five of the 57 constituencies’ results were verified and released.

The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) had by Thursday afternoon won two seats and the UDC upfront won three seats.

Despite the BDP dominating in local government (council) results earlier in the day, it was a different story in the revelation of the national assembly seats with the opposition almost toe to toe with the BDP in some constituencies.

Addressing the media on Thursday afternoon, Osupile Maroba, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) spokesperson said counting has started in all the 57 constituencies countrywide and they are just awaiting to receive results, verify and publicize them.

Maroba told the media that any party that has fielded presidential candidates will have to reach the set threshold of 29 national assembly seats to be declared the outright winner of the elections.

He said the constitution states that any party that has registered a presidential candidate and reaches more that 50 percent of the national assembly will be declared the winner.

He said they have already put preparations in place to update the Chief Justice, who currently has the authority to announce the election winner.

He said in case it happens that no party reaches the set threshold, the legal framework provides for breaking the stalemate and that route will be taken if the situations arises.

He said candidates will be allowed to submit petitions for a period of 30 days following the announcement of the results.

Four political parties, namely the BDP, UDC, Alliance for Progressives (AP) and the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) have fielded presidential candidates.

Meanwhile Maroba asked for patience in awaiting the results as the manual system used for counting takes a longer time to complete.

The IEC had previously wanted to use Electronic Voting Machines but this was met with strong opposition from the opposition parties especially and it had to be halted from going into this year’s polls. Enditem

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