South Africa has just been to the polls. I summarised the results of the 2009 elections in this post: Saturday Morning Musings - South African elections. The post contains a link to a post summarising the 2004 election results.
The 2014 results are not final. However, I would summarise the key features this way:
- The ANC (African National Congress) retains its dominance, although its vote continues to decline slowly, from a peak of 69.69% in 2004 to 66.11% in 2009 to 62.16% in 2014.
- The Democratic Alliance has consolidated its position as the main opposition party. Its national vote has risen from 12.37% in 2004 to 15.82% in 2009 to 22.37% in 2014. Importantly, it has increased its dominance in Western Cape with 56.37% of the vote, remaining in government in that province. It is the only party other than the ANC that controls a provincial legislature,
- Both the Inkarta Freedom Party and COPE (Congress of the People) weakened further. Led by Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Inkarta had its roots in the previous system. while COPE was a split-off from the ANC that hoped to challenge ANC dominance.
- This was the first election for the Economic Freedom Fighters, another split off from the ANC formed by former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, a radical and by reports charismatic figure. At this point, the EFF has scored 6.35% of the national vote, making its the third largest party after ANC and Democratic Alliance. It is also now the official opposition in Limpopo, the poorest of the South African provinces.
As an outsider with limited knowledge of South Africa, the most important feature of the elections to me beyond the simple fact of their apparent success is the way that Helen Zille’s Democratic Alliance has been able to establish itself as an official opposition.
With fifty three million people and the most sophisticated economy on the African continent, South Africa is a critical player in Africa’s future. It is also a country whose re-foundation after the apartheid era is based on a multi-racial, polycultural premise. I think that’s important.
The first report in the Australian media. Not dissimilar.