South Africans go to the polls on Wednesday for the country’s sixth democratic general election since the end of apartheid in 1994.
Some key facts about the election:
- Voters will cast ballots for national legislators and leaders of the country’s nine provinces. Voters do not directly elect individual candidates. They vote for a political party.
- Using a proportional representation system, the number of votes cast for each party will determine the number of seats it gets in parliament. Each party will then distribute the seats to a list of pre-selected members.
- The lawmakers will then elect the country’s president from the party which receives the majority of votes. The first sitting of the new parliament is provisionally scheduled for May 22.
- There are 26.7 million South Africans, almost half of the population, registered to vote.
- Voters will cast ballots at 22,925 polling stations that will open for 14 hours starting at 05:00 GMT.
- As many as 29,000 South African expatriates cast their ballots at various foreign diplomatic missions a week ago.
- There are 48 political parties contesting the national elections.
- Provincial assemblies comprise between 30 and 80 members, from where four members are picked to serve in the upper house of the National Assembly, the National Council of Provinces.
- Final results from the elections must be released within seven days. The Independent Electoral Commission has in past elections managed to release results within three days of the vote.
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