The party list system of voting can give a dominant party undue influence over its parliamentary members, critics say, instancing the practices of the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa’s National Assembly. The party has defended its use of the system and the ‘redeployments’ it permits as necessary to its program of reconstruction; claiming a right to use scarce human resources, including parliamentarians, in new positions as circumstances change. Since 1999 the Assembly has seen high rates of turnover and deployments of varying character, and the evidence suggests that the management of its parliamentary members challenges the capacity of the ANC. Lines of gender and provincial representation structure the party’s choices, raising issues of representation and accountability. A review of the careers of the sixty members who ceased to be members of the Assembly after the election of 1999 shows that the list system is only one factor to be considered in assessing the internal democracy of the ANC and its policies in Parliament and in government.
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Categories: Journal of African Elections