South Africans Gripped by Voting Fever

Barring minor incidents, it is a case of so far so good, as South Africa showed its democratic might. With each person who owns a smartphone being a broadcaster, they revelled in photographing inked thumbs (the sign of having voted) or creating short videos and posting these. Democracy went viral across the country by Wednesday morning as South Africans went to cast their ballots in the sixth national and provincial ballot. There are 48 political parties contesting the polls this year, up 300% from the number that did so in 1999. This tells the story of a democracy festival with voters presented with a healthy smorgasbord of options to choose who will represent them. The South African political landscape is settling into a three- party system with this election largely being one among the ANC, DA and the EFF which polls suggest will scoop up between 80% and 90% of all available votes. By establishing a track record of running efficient, credible and largely free and fair elections, the IEC has proven itself to be one of the resilient institutions of democracy. It forms a healthy spinal column for the electoral system and marks South Africa’s young democracy as an outlier at a time when the credibility of elections is taking such strain across the globe. The IEC is managing over 28,000 voting stations and it has overseen the printing of 50-million ballot papers of an extraordinary length. Its staff have put in place 220,000 ballot boxes, set up 44,529 voting booths and distributed 56,255 stationery packs.


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