Voting commences in Botswana general election

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Polling stations have opened in Botswana for what is expected to be its tightest election in history.

More than 900,000 registered voters will decide the contest between the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and a coalition of opposition parties under the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).

The ruling party and President Mokgweetsi Masisi have been presented with a surprising challenge after former President Ian Khama broke away and announced his support for the opposition coalition instead.

Botswana is voting for members of the National Assembly, who will then choose the president.

There will be no runoff election and results are expected to be released within two days of the closing of the polls on Wednesday evening.

Khama hand-picked Masisi as his successor when he stepped down last year following two terms in office in the diamond-rich country. But Masisi then moved away from some of Khama’s policies, including by loosening restrictions on elephant hunting to appeal to rural voters.

 




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