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South Africa kicks off reform to make electoral system more inclusive

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South African Minister of Interior Aaron Motsoaledi on Thursday formed a committee that would advise the government on how to reform the voting system in a bid to allow independent candidates to run.

The nation’s system of party-list proportional representation, which awards seats to parties in proportion to their electoral support, was found in 2020 to be unconstitutional.

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The committee is comprised of lawyers and political experts who advocate for a mixed voting system that would include representation by constituency.

They propose to allocate 300 seats in the lower house of the national parliament by constituency vote and 100 by proportional representation.

Dirk Kotze, a professor of political science at the University of South Africa, told Sputnik that the proposed system would be perceived as more representative and likely lead to a higher turnout.

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He however argued that individual candidates would need a party backing.

“If the independent candidate wins more than one seat who is going to occupy those seats with him or her in parliament,’’ Kotze said.

Mmusi Maimane, the head of the grassroots One South Africa Movement and former leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance party, told the national broadcasting corporation that the proposal was historic.

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Maimane said the proposal was significant in the sense that communities would finally get to choose who represents them.

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