Botswana's Democratic Party wins general election

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Gaborone - Botswana's ruling party, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), claimed victory in the country's general elections on Saturday.

President Ian Khama's party, which has been in power since independence from Britain in 1966, secured the required 29 of 57 constituencies needed to win the election, extending Khama's rule over the southern African country for another five years.

Botswana, a southern African country of some two million people, has around 725 000 registered voters, while seven political parties and 15 independent candidates are competing for the nation's 57 constituencies.

Botswana is among the African continent's most stable countries, relatively free of corruption. It is also among the world's biggest diamond producers and protects some of the continent's largest areas of wilderness.

The country, which has maintained one of the world's highest growth rates since independence in 1966, has transformed from one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle-income country.

Diamond mining has fueled much of the economic expansion and currently accounts for about one-third of Gross Domestic Product.

However, Botswana has been hit hard by the AIDS pandemic and has one of the world's highest known rates of HIV and AIDS infection. It is also one of the African countries with the most progressive and comprehensive programs for dealing with the disease.