News and Information

Botswana's ruling party backs vice president
November 8, 2004

November 08 2004 at 06:33PM

Gaborone - Botswana's parliament endorsed former army chief Ian Khama as vice president on Monday, with President Festus Mogae's re-elected ruling party uniting behind him.

Mogae had threatened to dissolve parliament if dissatisfied members of his Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), which has ruled the world's largest diamond producer since 1966, voted against him and blocked the son of Botswana's first president, Sir Seretse Khama.

Khama's populist son is seen as a threat to the older generation of BDP politicians.

The BDP has faced some internal splits in the past, but last week Mogae told Reuters that he hoped the opposition's improved performance in last Saturday's election would lead to greater unity within his own party.

One BDP MP may have crossed the floor in the secret ballot to reappoint Khama, who has been vice president since 1998 and is expected to succeed Mogae when the former International Monetary Fund economist reaches the constitutional end of his term in 2008.

Forty-four MPs backed Khama in the vote, with 13 abstentions and one spoilt paper. There are 44 elected BDP MPs in parliament alongside 13 MPs from opposition parties, with Mogae also having a vote.

MPs have now also elected four "appointed" members of parliament.

Opposition parties put up four candidates but unsurprisingly it was the president's four nominees who were elected, bringing the BDP to a total of 48 MPs against 13 opposition.


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