South African government

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South African government

South Africa is the only nation in the world with three capital cities: Cape Town, the largest of the three, is the legislative capital; Pretoria is the administrative capital; and Bloemfontein is the judicial capital. South Africa has a bicameral parliament: the ninety members of the National Council of Provinces (the upper house); and the four hundred members of the National Assembly (the lower house). Members of the lower house are elected on a population basis by proportional representation: half of the members are elected from national lists and half are elected from provincial lists. Ten members are elected to represent each province in the National Council of Provinces, regardless of the population of the province. Elections for both chambers are held every five years. The government is formed in the lower house, and the leader of the majority party in the national Assembly is the President.

Current South African politics are dominated by the African National Congress (ANC), which received 69.7% of the vote during the last 2004 general election and 66.3% of
the vote in the 2006 municipal election. The current (2004-2009 term) President of south Africa is Thabo Mbeki, who succeeded former President Nelson Mandela. The main challenger to the ANC's rule is the Democratic Alliance party, which received 12.4% of the vote in the 2004 election and 14.8% in the 2006 election. The leader of this party is Helen Zille (elected 6 May 2007). The previous leader of the party was Tony Leon. the formerly dominant New National Party, which introduced apartheid through its predecessor the National Party. It chose to merge with the ANC on 9 April 2005. Other major political parties represented in Parliament are the Inkatha Freedom Party, which mainly represents zulu voters, and the Independent Democrats, who took 6.97% and 1.7% of the vote respectively, in the 2004 election.

However since 2004 the country has suffered many thousands of popular protests, some violent, making it, according to one academic, the "most protest-rich country in the world". Many of these protests have been organised from the growing shanty towns that surround south African cities

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