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Namibia's ruling SWAPO in landslide poll victory

Namibia's President Hifikepunye Pohamba smiles during his ceremonial reception at the presidential palace in New Delhi, India, August 31, 2009. REUTERS/B Mathur

WINDHOEK (Reuters) - Namibia’s ruling SWAPO party won a resounding victory in parliamentary polls, giving it the chance to change the constitution at will, final results showed on Friday.

Results of 107 contested constituencies showed SWAPO won 75.27 percent of the vote - a clear two-third-majority - and returned President Hifikepunye Pohamba for the second term in office in the mineral-rich southern African country.

SWAPO’s nearest rival, the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) which broke away from the ruling party in 2007, won 11.31 percent of the vote.

Earlier on Friday, the RDP and seven other opposition parties said they will not accept the results because the vote contravened the country’s laws.

Analysts said their protests against the dominant SWAPO party -- a former guerrilla movement that led the arid state to independence from South Africa in 1990 -- were unlikely to have much impact.

Three African observer missions have declared the November 27-28 elections transparent, peaceful and fair, although some recommendations were made to improve the counting process, media balance, voting and accuracy of the voters’ roll.

Local observers and the opposition parties have widely criticised delays in vote counting and releasing results, also alleging voting and counting irregularities. The electoral commission said the final count from 811,143 votes showed SWAPO won 54 seats of the 72 in the National Assembly, a seat less than in its previous victory in 2005. RDP took eight seats.

Namibia has enjoyed political stability and economic growth, but is struggling in the face of rising poverty, unemployment and widening cracks in its once highly regarded health care and school systems, further exacerbated by the global recession.