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Robert B. Mattes, Amanda Gouws and Hennie J. Kotze, "The Emerging Party System in the New South Africa," Party Politics , 1 (July, 1995), 381-395.

First Paragraph:
In April 1994, South Africa held an historic election in which for the first time all its citizens could vote. As expected, its choice of a proportional representation electoral system yielded a multi-party system. Seven parties qualified for representation in the national parliament (half the national seats were chosen from a closed national list and half from nine closed provincial lists; provincial assemblies were also chosen from nine separate closed lists); eight parties gained representation across the nine new provincial parliaments. Yet what are the prospects of South Africa developing a truly competitive multi-party system and avoiding evolving into the one-party-dominant system that has characterized many other emerging democracies? This report presents evidence concerning these prospects from a recent national post-election survey.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1: The distribution of party identification (%).
Table 2: Party identification by province (%).
Table 3: Strength of party identification (%).
Table 4: Party identification and the national vote (%).
Table 5: The double ballot (%).
Table 6: 'Defections' at the national and provincial levels by strength of party identification (%).
Table 7: Consistency of April and September voting preferences according to strength of party identification (%).
Table 8: Reasons for party identification (by party support) (%).

Last Paragraph:
Finally, the particular conceptions of competitiveness and uncertainty that we have used are shaped heavily by the rules of normal parliamentary cabinet government. However, alternative constitutional designs might 'redefine' our criteria of competitiveness and uncertainty. Under the normal conditions of parliamentary democracy, it is presently doubtful whether the ANC will need to form a coalition with any other party for the next few elections. Among other things, one consequence could see smaller parties deciding to merge with the ANC in order to have any chance of influence, thus further weakening the system's competitiveness. But if South Africans decide to perpetuate their present parliamentary form of government in the final constitution (to be negotiated by 1999), the continuation of the present proportional cabinet could be a crucial way to retain some measure of competitiveness and electoral uncertainty. This is because the national governing party would be forced to worry not only about shifts of support that might affect its majority status, but about any shift in support that could alter the crucial distribution of the number as well as the importance of cabinet seats among the political parties who meet the required minimum threshold.