1989 Botswana general election

Botswana Democratic Party Elections in Botswana 1987 Botswana electoral reform referendum
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General elections were held in Botswana on 7 October 1989, alongside local elections.[1] The result was the sixth straight landslide victory for the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), which won 31 of the 34 elected seats.[2]


A referendum on electoral reform had been held in 1987, and resulted in the creation of a Supervisor of Elections, which would be appointed by the government. Both the BDP and the Botswana National Front (BNF) hold primary elections to select candidates.[3]


The BNF went into the elections suffering from instability; Bathoen Gaseitsiwe resigned as party leader in 1985 after becoming head of the Customary Court of Appeal. Prior to the elections Bathoen criticised new party leader Kenneth Koma for his left-wing policies, resigned from the BNF and established the Botswana Freedom Party (BFP). The new BFP ran as a nationalist and pro-free market party.[3] The ruling BDP campaigned on its record in government around economic development and political stability.[1]

A total of 91 candidates contested the elections, with the BDP being the only party to field a full slate of 34 candidates. The BNF put forward 31 candidates, the Botswana People's Party 11, the Botswana Independence Party 9, the Botswana Freedom Party 2 and the Botswana Progressive Union and Botswana Liberal Party both had a single candidate.[3]


Party Votes % Seats +/–
Botswana Democratic Party 162,277 64.78 31 +2
Botswana National Front 67,513 26.95 3 –1
Botswana People's Party 10,891 4.34 0 –1
Botswana Independence Party 6,209 2.48 0 0
Botswana Progressive Union 2,186 0.87 0 0
Botswana Freedom Party 1,363 0.54 0 New
Botswana Liberal Party 48 0.02 0 New
Indirectly elected members 4
Total 250,487 100 38 0
Registered voters/turnout 367,069 68.24
Source: Inter-parliamentary Union, Nohlen et al.


Following the elections, the BNF claimed that there had been irregularities in the Mochudi constituency, where they lost to the BDP by 29 votes. The High Court ruled in the BNF's favour, resulting in a by-election in June 1990 in which the BDP retained the seat.[3]


  1. ^ a b Elections held in 1989 Inter-Parliamentary Union
  2. ^ Nohlen, D, Krennerich, M & Thibaut, B (1999) Elections in Africa: A data handbook, p113 ISBN 0-19-829645-2
  3. ^ a b c d Botswana: The October 1989 General Election EISA