Botswana: Electoral system

Updated May 2015

Legal basis Constitution of Botswana[1].
Electoral Act, 1968 as amended (especially 1998).
Electoral system Parliamentary Elections: Single member plurality, first-past-the-post system multiparty elections[2].
Presidential Elections: President is elected by each newly elected National Assembly[3].
Election period Parliamentary elections every 5 years[4].
Electoral institutions Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
Secretary to the IEC[5]
Functions of electoral institutions IEC: Is to conduct and supervise elections efficiently, freely and fairly, and to supervise the Secretary[6].
Secretary: Supervises registration of voters under direction of IEC and conducts the administration and logistics of elections[7].
Independence of electoral institutions IEC: Members appointed by Judicial Service Commission. No provision for their removal (but see Section 65A(6))[8].
Secretary: Appointed by the President, but answerable to IEC [9].
Demarcation The Judicial Service Commission appoints a Delimitation Commission (DC) consisting of a chair and up to four other members. The DC is not subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority in the exercise of its functions. The DC reports to the President and constituencies are redemarked every 5-10 years [10]. There are 58 parliamentary constituencies.
Voter registration Continuous registration.
Conducted by constituency registration officers controlled by the Secretary; required to present national identification and fill in a declaration of eligibility and receives a voter card[11].
Non-residents may be registered in their previous constituency of residence or constituency of birth[12].
Voter education Although the IEC is not tasked by law with voter education the IEC has set civic and voter education as one of its four goals[13].
Nomination of candidates Parliamentary Elections: candidates are nominated by means of a nomination paper signed by 9 registered voters and the payment of a deposit[14].
Presidential Elections: Nominations must be accompanied by the endorsements of 1 000 registered voters[15]
Funding of political parties No provision for public funding is made.
Limits are placed on the amount a candidate may spend and donations must be disclosed. After elections candidates must give account of all donations and monies spent[16].
Election campaign No codes of conduct are issued by the IEC governing the political activity of parties and candidates[17]. Campaigning is prohibited on election day[18].
Communication No codes of conduct are issued by the IEC governing party access to public media. According to news reports a code of conduct was issued by the National Broadcasting Board[19]
Counting After the close of the poll ballot boxes are sealed by the Presiding Officer, as well as by the candidates or their election agents, and sent to the returning officer[20]. The returning officer and electoral staff count the votes in the presence of the party agents[21].
Announcement of results The returning officer declares the result in the counting station, forwards the result to the Secretary and all the documentation to the Registrar of the High Court[22].
Conflict resolution Election petitions are heard by the High Court. Petitions must be submitted within 30 days of the announcement of the result disputed. If petitions are withdrawn the costs devolve on the petitioner[23].
Election monitoring Observers are accredited by the IEC, and issued with a code of conduct[24].

Table notes

[1] In this respect the 1997 amendment to the Constitution is particularly important since it establishes the IEC. See Constitutional (Amendment) Act 1997, Section 65A.
[2] Constitution of Botswana 1966, 63.
[3] Constitution of Botswana 1966, 32.
[4] Constitution of Botswana 1966, 91(3).
[5] Constitution of Botswana 1966, 65A(1), 66(1).
[6] Constitution of Botswana 1966, 65A(12).
[7] Constitution of Botswana 1966, 66(3); Electoral Act, 3.
[8] Constitution of Botswana 1966, 65A(10-(4).
[9] Constitution of Botswana 1966, 64, 65.
[10] Constitution of Botswana 1966, 64.
[11] Electoral Act, 9(3).
[12] Constitution of Botswana 1966, Section 67(1)(c); Electoral Act, 8A.
[13] IEC Undated. On this EISA (2004, 28) remarked: "Broadly speaking, civic and voter education campaigns were insufficient and sporadic".
[14] Electoral Act, 32(1), 33.
[15] Constitution of Botswana 1966, 32(2).
[16] Electoral Act, 79, 82(1), 85.
[17] EISA 2004, 28.
[18] Electoral Act, 111(1), (2).
[19] Daily News Online 2004.
[20] Electoral Act, 65(1)-(4)
[21] Electoral Act. Although not provided for by law: "Party agents and observers are allowed to accompany the ballot boxes from the polling station to the counting centre", EISA Election Observer Mission Report 2004, op cit, p 35.
[22] Electoral Act, 75-77.
[23] Electoral Act, 114, 115(b)(ii), 132.
[24] IEC Undated; Code of Conduct for Accredited Election Observers.


CONSTITUTION OF BOTSWANA 1966, [www] [PDF document, opens new window] (accessed 10 Mar 2010).

DAILY NEW ONLINE 2004 "NBB issues broadcasters' code of conduct", June 21, [www] broadcasterscode_of_conduct [opens new window] (accessed 10 Mar 2010).

EISA 2004, Election Observer Mission Report 2004 [PDF document].

ELECTORAL ACT (Chapter 02:09) [PDF document].

IEC UNDATED "IEC Commissioners" [www] (offline 18 Feb 2010).