Constitutional Constraints on South Africa’s Electoral System

This paper surveys the constitutional provisions pertinant to a future electoal system applicable to the elections of South Africa’s National Assembly and provincial legislatures. It also also addresses court decisions releant to these provisions. The Constitution of te Republic of South Africa Act 108 of 1996 (the Constitutsion) requires that this electoral system “results, in general, in proportional representation”. What exactly this means is unclear. It may be interpreted to allow a future electoral system to give effect to a degree of accountability while reducing teh degree of proportionality. There is a range of electoral options available, resulting in higher and lower degrees of proportionality. The national legislation that will prescribe the electoral system for the 2004 elections should, taking all the constitutional requirements and functional demands of the system into account, seek to achieve optimal proportionality.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: closed PR, electoral system, Mixed Member System, National Assembly, National Council of Provinces, proportional representation (PR), Proportionality
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