South Africa's political future lies in the hands of 19 million voters

South Africa's political future lies in the hands of 19 million voters

37 million South Africans are eligible voters, but only 26.7 million registered this year. With only 70% expected turnout for the elections, the nation's political future lies in the hands of 19 million citizens.

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Tomorrow will see the grand finale after months' worth of political campaigning - the elections.

With the hard-come-by democracy South Africans enjoy today, it is disheartening to hear only 19 million voters are expected to take part in the process.

By the end of Wednesday, only one third of the population would have decided the country's political future, reported The Citizen.

Africa Check, a fact-checking organisation, says this is a similar scenario to the previous elections:

“In 2014, the country’s population was estimated at 54 million, so 34% – or just over a third of the people living in South Africa – helped choose the country’s government in the previous elections.”

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The Institute of Race Relations recently released a survey saying that, while it is impossible to predict the exact results, the majority of the movement will be towards the larger parties:

“It is not possible to precisely predict the election result. The last few days will likely see some small movement. If history is a guide, it will be towards the bigger parties."

The African National Congress is expected to drop down to around 55% or less, with the Democratic Alliance expected to hold onto their Western Cape stronghold.

Voter registration in the 18-to-20-year-old demographic is poor, with the low poll numbers reflecting how poor the youth's involvement is.

Daniel Silke, political analyst, commented on this:

“The problem is the younger voters have been alienated from the registration process and, no doubt, also alienated from the broader political process, given the frustrations about the economy and jobs."

Ultimately, South Africa will have to wait until the final results to see what the outcome of the elections will be.

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