Polls open in Uganda’s general election


Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. local time this morning for Uganda’s Presidential and legislative elections. Polls will close an hour earlier than normal at 4 p.m. local time.

There are 28,010 polling stations across the country and 15,277,198 eligible voters. They will be voting for eight presidential candidates although incumbent President Yoweri Museveni of the right-wing National Resistance Movement (NRM) is expected to win once more; he was first elected 30 years ago in 1986. The other two main contenders are Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and a former prime minister, Amama Mbabazi, of Go Forward. The five other candidates are not expected to make much impact. The winner of the presidential election must obtain more than 50% of the vote to avoid a second round runoff.

In the 2011 presidential election Yoweri Museveni took 68.38% of the vote and Kizza Besigye took 26.01%.

In elections for the National Assembly of Uganda the number of seats has increased from 375 to 418 today. Of those 290 will be elected in first past the post constituencies with a further 112 women district MPs being elected in the 112 districts. There are 16 additional seats set aside for youth, the disabled and workers. In this election there are 29 political parties contesting the election.

In the 2011 election the National Resistance Movement took 263 of the 375 seats whilst the Forum for Democratic Change won 34 seats. The centre-right Democratic Party (DP) won 12 seats and the left-wing Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) took 10 seats. Two small parties, the Conservative Party and the Justice Forum won one seat each and the rest were made up of independents.

This election will use biometric voting machines for the first time. Results are expected on Saturday.

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