42 parties to contest General Elections

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Pretoria - A total of 42 political parties will contest the 2009 General Elections if their candidates' lists are approved by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

Submissions for the candidates' lists closed at 5pm on Monday.

IEC Chief Electoral Officer Advocate Pansy Tlakula released the provisional list of political parties in Pretoria on Tuesday. "Altogether 42 political parties submitted candidate lists of the 117 parties that are registered nationally," she said.

Advocate Tlakula said 28 parties have submitted candidates' lists to contest the elections for the National Assembly.

The breakdown per province include 17 in the Eastern Cape, 14 in the Free State, 20 in Gauteng, 18 in KwaZulu-Natal, 18 in Limpopo, 15 in Mpumalanga, 16 in the North West, 13 in the Northern Cape and 22 in the Western Cape.

A total of 11 parties have registered to contest both the elections for seats in Parliament's National Assembly as well as in all nine Provincial Legislatures, three parties will contest the elections for the National Assembly only; 14 parties will contest the elections for the National Assembly and one or more of the Provincial Legislatures and 14 parties will participate in the elections in one or more of the Provincial Legislatures only.

Advocate Tlakula said the IEC would now begin the process of scrutinising the lists to ensure that parties comply with all the requirements. Parties will be informed if their lists did not comply with the Electoral Act by 6 March.

Thereafter, they will have until 10 March to correct the non-compliance, while the candidates' lists will be made available for public inspection at national, provincial and municipal offices of the IEC on 17 March.

According to Advocate Tlakula, parties that will qualify to contest the elections will be invited to make public pledges to abide by the Electoral Code of Conduct on 11 March.

The IEC will also use the occasion to hold a draw to determine the order in which the names of the parties will appear on the ballot paper.

The Chief Electoral Officer said she was satisfied with the organised manner in which most parties submitted their lists.

While a few political parties submitted their candidates' lists late, some had submitted their lists as early as last Wednesday. Late submissions were not accepted and these parties will have to wait for another five years in order to contest the general elections.

"The submission of candidates' lists is an important milestone on the election timetable and truly signals the start of the election period.

"The number of political parties participating demonstrates that these elections have generated a lot of interest in South Africa."

She further expressed her gratitude to parties for cooperating with the IEC in the manner that they did and urged them to take their responsibilities in respect of the Electoral Code of Conduct seriously.