Botswana profile

President: Seretse Khama Ian Khama

President Seretse Khama Ian Khama Seretse Khama Ian Khama was a soldier before turning to politics

Seretse Khama Ian Khama - the son of Sir Seretse Khama, Botswana's first post-independence leader - took over as president in April 2008.

He was the chosen successor of Festus Mogae, who stepped down at the end of his second term, after a decade at the helm.

He secured a new five-year term in October 2009 after his governing Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) party swept to victory in a parliamentary election.

To select a president, the winning party needs to win 29 of the 57 parliamentary seats. And in the 2009 polls the BDP - in power since independence in 1966 - won 45 of the 57 constituencies. The main opposition party, the Botswana National Front, won 6 constituencies and its splinter party the Botswana Congress Party captured 4.

Ian Khama, graduate of Sandhurst officer training college in Britain, was commander of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) before becoming vice president in 1998.

He became chairman of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in 2003.

Critics describe him as authoritarian while supporters say he is decisive and efficient.

His no-nonsense approach has made him popular abroad as he has broken ranks with regional leaders' timid approach to join international criticism of democratic abuses by Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe.

A call for the president to be elected directly by the people was rejected by parliament in 2008. Some critics have warned that the country was becoming a dynasty and that democracy was under threat.

  • General elections are due on 24 October 2014.

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