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The Political Parties in Namibia

The dominant force in the Namibian party system and parliament is the SWAPO (South-West Africa People's Organisation), founded in 1960 as a Marxist liberation movement in Ovamboland. Founding fathers were Sam Nujoma and Herman Toivo ja Toivo. The SWAPO fought the struggle against the South African oppressors.

SWAPO received 57% of the votes in the first elections (1989) and gained in the folllowing elections regularly more than 70%. Also in the last elections in 2009 it could keep its two-third majority. Although SWAPO explicitly denies to be an ethnic movement, most of its electorate lives in Ovamboland, just like half of the Namibian population.

Today the party stands for a moderately socialist course. The main goal is the abolition of poverty. A land reform is part of the political agenda, not showing much progress so far. It is the declared aim of the governing party to raise Namibia above the status of a developing country until 2030.  

Photo: Sam Nujoma, Founding Father of the SWAPO and officially "Father of the Nation".
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Like in South Africa, the opposition parties are politically weak and hardly relevant. The DTA (Democratic Turnhallen Alliance), the main party of the white minority, holds only 2 seats. NUDO (National Unity Democratic Organisation), a Herero party which had separated from the DTA in 2003, also only has 2 seats. And the CoD (Congress of Democrats), founded in 1998, with its charismatic leader Ben Ulenga could secure only 1 seat in 2009. It lost most of its electorate to the RDP (Rally for Democracy and Progress), founded in 2007 by discontent SWAPO members. With 8 seats the RDP is at present the strongest opposition party in the National Assembly. All opposition groups together hold 18 of the 78 seats.

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