Some 26,400 expatriates have successfully applied to vote
JOHANNESBURG – South African expatriates started on Wednesday casting their ballot at 116 embassies around the world to elect members of the national assembly.
"Some 406 South Africans who successfully registered to vote at the South African High Commission in Auckland, New Zealand, were the first to vote," the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said in a statement.
It added that more than 26,400 expatriates had successfully applied to cast their ballots.
According to IEC, London has the highest number of registered expatriate voters at 9863, followed by Dubai at 1539.
"The final votes will be cast in Los Angeles where polls will close at 6am South African time Thursday 1 May," said the commission.
Nearly 20 million registered voters will go to the polls on May 7 to elect National Assembly and provincial legislatures members.
But expatriates are only allowed to vote for National Assembly representatives.
South Africa employs a proportional representation electoral system, in which parties are represented in the national assembly and in nine provincial councils in direct proportion to their electoral support.
After elections, seats are allocated to the parties according to their performance in the election.
The National Assembly boasts 400 members, half of them elected from the national list and the remaining 200 from among the nine provincial lists.
The first task of parliament is to elect a President
Tens of thousands of South Africans living inside the country have applies for a special early voting.
"Election officials will visit voters who have successfully applied for a home visit due to physical infirmity, disability or pregnancy," the IEC said.
According to the commission, home visits will be conducted on May 5 and 6.
Another category of special vote involves voters who will be absent from their voting district where they are registered to vote on Election Day.
"This voting will take place at the voting station where the voter is registered on Monday 5 May and Tuesday 6 May between 9am and 5pm," explained the IEC.
According to the commission, a total of 75,000 South Africans have been approved for early voting inside the country.
"These comprise approximately 57,000 home visits and 17,500 voters who will vote at their voting stations," it said.
The electoral race will likely be dominated by the ruling African National Congress (ANC), the Democratic Alliance (DA), the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the Congress of the People (COPE) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP).
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