South Africa: One Party Dominance Despite Perfect Proportionality

Amanda Gouws and Paul Mitchell

in The Politics of Electoral Systems

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9780199257560
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603280 | DOI:
 South Africa: One Party Dominance Despite Perfect Proportionality

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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

Chapter.  9334 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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