South Africa election facts
South Africans go to the polls on Wednesday for the country's fifth democratic general election since the end of apartheid in 1994.
Following are some key facts about the election:
- Voters will cast ballots for national legislators and leaders of the nine country's provinces. But the voters do not directly elect individual candidates. They vote for a political party.
- Using the proportional representation system, the number of total 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 garners the majority votes. The election takes place on May 21, the first sitting of the new parliament.
- There are 25.39 million South Africans, almost half of the population, registered to vote. But only a third of the so-called born-free generation -- those born after 1994 who have no memory of apartheid -- bothered to register to vote this year.
- Voters will cast ballots at 22,263 polling stations that will open for around 14 hours starting at 0500 GMT.
- There are 8,652 candidates from 45 political parties, but only 29 partes are contesting in the national elections.
- Tens of thousands of police officers, backed by the military in some hotspots, will be deployed to secure the polls.
- As many as 27,000 South African expatriates cast their ballots at various diplomatic missions abroad last week.
- 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 after polling.
© 2014 AFP