How the South African Electoral System was Negotiated

Since 1994 South Africa’s National Assembly and its nine regional legislatures have been elected on a list-based system of proportional representation. Proportional representation is a constitutional requirement. Elections for the Assembly and the legislatures are held simultaneously, though this is not a constitutional stipulation. Voters complete two ballot forms, one for the Assembly, the other for the legislature of the region in which they reside. Ballot forms refer to political parties only. Each party submits lists of candidates for the Assembly and the legislatures before the election. In the case of the Assembly, candidates either appear on a national list or on a list of nominations from the regions. Seats in the 400-member National Assembly and in the regional legislatures are allocated to each party in proportion to its respective share of the vote according to the Droop Quota and Highest Remainder method. In effect the system affords representation to any party that can win 0,25 per cent of the vote – the lowest entry threshold in any proportional representation system. The elections are organised by an Independent Electoral Commission whose five members have, since 1998, been chosen through recommendations to the President by a panel which selects from a group of candidates nominated by an all-party parliamentary committee.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: African National Congress (ANC), closed PR, Convention for a Democratic South Africa (Codesa), mixed electoral system, National Party (NP), proportional representation (PR)
journal of african elections vol2 number 1 transparent democratic governance in africa