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Journal article

Race and ethnicity: Voters’ party preference in South African elections


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Taylor & Francis
Africa | Southern Africa

Genuine, periodic, free and fair elections are one of the key defining features of a vibrant multi-party democracy. They provide a public mechanism for regular peaceful institutional competition for power and the opportunity for people to change, review or legitimise government through their freely expressed will. This article interrogates the behaviour of South African voters using a qualitative analysis of available studies covering the national and provincial elections held in 1994, 1999, 2004 and 2009, and the municipal election of 2011. One of the notable trends is that while the number of registered voters keeps increasing, voter turnout is on the decrease. There are other salient observable tends but they are not the focus of the article. For the purposes of the article the first conclusion is that among the various competing variables influencing voters’ choice of a particular political party in South African public elections, the race issue, however weak some might suggest...


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