Botswana's independent electoral commission says preliminary results show the ruling party has an early lead in the national election.

Results for local council constituencies released on Saturday show the Botswana Democratic Party, led by President Ian Khama, holds a majority of the votes counted so far.

Opposition parties have made a strong showing in the urban centers, with the newly formed Umbrella for Democratic Change winning wards in and around the capital Gaborone.

Results for parliamentary elections have not yet been announced. Election officials said that counting had been delayed but expected final results by the end of the day.

The parliamentary results will determine who will be Botswana's next president as the country's leader is elected by members of parliament.