21 April 2014

South Africa: Analysis - the South African Election 2014 - Sound and Fury Signifying Nothing?


With just two weeks left to run, J. BROOKS SPECTOR looks at the national electoral campaign and senses a gap in the way the election has failed to serve as an teachable moment - but how it might still rise to fill that need.

This year's national election in South Africa is arguably the country's most important election since the advent of the universal franchise in 1994. While that earlier election was enormously important in confirming the negotiated settlement that had ended the National Party's whites-only domination, it was a foregone conclusion that the ANC would be the big victor. This time around, while the ANC is almost certainly going to win a sizeable majority yet again (at least nationally), in the absence of a totally unanticipated, magnitude 8 electoral earthquake, the real core of this election is an increasingly vigorous debate over South Africa's economic future circumstances.

And yet, with the possible exception of a website or two like South Africa Votes 2014 and some often interesting, informative, even challenging writing by columnists like Steve Friedman, Judith February and Eusebius McKaiser, most of the media attention over this election has been in the form of reporting that mostly can...

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