US interest in municipal elections

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pretoria - It's not just the youth of South Africa that were preoccupied with the municipal elections on Wednesday - a group of students from the United States also found themselves caught up in the hype.

The students from Michigan State University are in South Africa as part of a study abroad project and toured the Independent Electoral Commission's Results Operation Centre (ROC) in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Carolina Segura, a hospitality student, said she had been learning about South African politics during her visit here and now had the opportunity to experience it firsthand.

"This is a great opportunity to get more information about the country and the elections. It's a privilege to be here, watching the elections unfold," she said.

Segura was pleasantly surprised with the vigour with which she had witnessed political parties campaigning and was impressed with the level youth participation in the elections.

"It's been amazing to see how involved everyone is in the election. Given South Africa's history it seems that everyone wants to have a hand in seeing the country progress and develop further," she said.

Fellow student Christina Steyer has been keeping a keen eye on the elections, especially since she is studying social relations in politics and education. Steyer said she was extremely impressed with the ROC.

"It's interesting to see that all the parties have representatives are here to observe the results coming in."

She added that from an "outsider's perspective" it seemed as if the focus of the political parties during the campaigning process had been on how to implement social change and put policy into practice.

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