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Botswana

Yearbook 1999

Botswana. In the October parliamentary elections, Botswana's Democratic Party, BDP, won its eighth straight electoral victory since the country's independence in 1966. The party progressed strongly, taking 33 of the 40 seats that were at stake. In second place came Botswana's national front, BNF.

1999 Botswana

According to Countryaah official website, President Festus Mogae, who is the leader of the BDP, was subjected to harsh criticism from the opposition for the way in which the preparations for the elections were conducted. During the election campaign, Mogae was forced to call for a state of emergency to be able to recall the dissolved parliament and ask it to extend the time for voter registration. Tens of thousands of people would otherwise not have been able to register.

But from the newly elected parliament, Mogae gained the confidence to continue as president. He had taken over the presidential post the year before, since his representative resigned before the end of office. When Mogae was sworn in for the second time, he said that the government's overall goal is to fight poverty and unemployment. It is estimated that nearly 50% of the population lives in poverty, and unemployment is expected to be close to 35%. The widespread spread of AIDS has reduced the population's estimated average life expectancy to 40 years.

At the same time, diamond exports give the country high macroeconomic growth, calculated at 6% in 1998/1999. That figure was still a decline from previous years due to falling diamond prices.

In a dramatic event just before the election, Air Botswana lost three of its four aircraft. It was one of the company's pilots who committed suicide by flying into the set planes at the airport at the capital Gaborone.

In December, the International Court of Justice in The Hague declared that Botswana has the right to a disputed island in the Chobe River, which forms a border with Namibia. The dispute has in the past almost led the two countries to war with each other.

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