Article published on the 2009-04-22 Latest update 2009-04-22 13:43 TU
South Africans going to the polls in Cape Town's Khayelitsha township on 22 April 2009
More than 23 million registered voters have their chance to go to the polls on Thursday in South Africa. Jacob Zuma, the candidate of the ruling ANC has called for a massive turnout, in the fourth election since the end of apartheid.
“Generally leaders will cast their ballots in their home constituency, and then probably move to Pretoria. Many of them will be at the counting centre, or they’ll certainly gravitate that way,” says correspondent Jean-Jacques Cornish.
Nearly 20,000 polling booths opened at 0500 GMT and there are a series of observers for the polls.
“We have 300 foreign observers, mostly from Sadc [Southern African Development Community], and we have 5,000 local observers, I noticed many of them at the polling station where I cast my ballot,” Cornish told RFI.
“Salim Salim, former Tanzanian ambassador to Beijing and the United Nations, and ... former Secretary General of the Organisation of African Unity, heads the African Union’s observer mission,” he says.
The country uses an electoral system based on proportional representation and observers are expected to identify any issues likely to disrupt the process.
“I think they are going to learn as much, as they are going to observe. I think the key is whether if they spot any problems, that they do in fact report them, it’s very important for us,” says Cornish.
South Africa votes
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