South Africa - Government





The terms of a new constitution adopted in February 1997 were hammered out prior to the 27–29 April 1994 election. There is a 400-seat National Assembly chosen by proportional representation (200 nationally and 200 from regional lists). Following the implementation of the new constitution on 3 February 1997, the former senate was disbanded and replaced by the National Council of Provinces with essentially no change in membership and party affiliations—although the new institution's responsibilities have been changed somewhat by the new constitution. Of 90 members, 10 come from each province or region and selected by each provincial assembly. The members serve as both a legislature and a constituent assembly. They also elect the president and deputy presidents. Elections for the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces were last held 2 June 1999 with the next to be held by 2 August 2004. The president names a cabinet, divided proportionally between parties that have gained at least 5% of the vote. The next presidential elections were scheduled for sometime between May and July 2004.

Although the degree of autonomy and the level of power given to the regions remains contentious with the IFP's longstanding grievance about the way power is devalued to the regions, the nine provinces have assemblies based on the total number of votes cast in the general election. Thus, the number of members each provincial legislature has depends on the number of votes cast divided by 50,000. The executive branch of the provincial governments is, like the legislatures, allocated proportionally.

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