South African election begins with overseas vote

April 15th, 2009 - 2:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Johannesburg, April 15 (DPA) South Africa’s fourth democratic election since the end of the apartheid era began Wednesday morning with the opening of polls for overseas voters.
Some 16,200 registered South African voters living abroad can cast their vote in the country’s embassies between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Almost half of those registered voters are in Britain, according to the South African electoral commission.

The rest of the country goes to the polls April 22 to vote for seats in the regional parliaments as well as the national assembly, which will then go on to vote for a new president.

The reigning African National Congress (ANC) is expected to win the election, in view of the continuing loyalty of the majority of the country’s black population to the party of former president Nelson Mandela.

The ANC does stand to lose some seats however, to the newly founded Congress of the People (COPE), in one of the tightest elections since the end of apartheid.

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