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The Politics of Electoral Systems$
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Michael Gallagher and Paul Mitchell

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199257560

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199257566.001.0001

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South Africa: One Party Dominance Despite Perfect Proportionality

South Africa: One Party Dominance Despite Perfect Proportionality

Chapter:
(p.353) 17 South Africa: One Party Dominance Despite Perfect Proportionality
Source:
The Politics of Electoral Systems
Author(s):

Amanda Gouws

Paul Mitchell (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199257566.003.0017

Democratic elections in South Africa have been held using a closed-list PR system since 1994. Despite significant debate on whether the system should be reformed, the 1994 system has been retained. The South African electoral system is the most proportional system used in any democratic state, given that seat allocations are ultimately determined in one national constituency with 400 members. There is widespread agreement that it has performed well on most criteria, the exception being a perceived lack of ‘accountability’ between MPs and voters. Some critics feel that the closed-list system without districts gives too much power to party leaders, and does not give MPs incentives to represent distinct geographical areas.

Keywords:   transition, democracy, closed-list PR, ANC, divided societies, anti-defection provisions, predominant party system, accountability, electoral reform

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