22 January 2019

South Africa: Cope and Good Bid for Voters Tired of Major Parties and Old-Style Politics


The 2019 elections are often spoken of as if they constituted a three-way race between the ANC, the EFF and the DA. But with coalitions increasingly becoming a fixed feature of South Africa's political landscape, smaller parties have a better chance than ever of exerting power with a relatively insignificant share of the vote. Last weekend, Patricia de Lille's new party GOOD became the latest contender, alongside Cope, to unveil its 2019 offering to the country -- and promise, yet again, a new kind of politics.

One of the most memorable moments of the last elections saw Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota eat a hat.

In a pre-election interview, Lekota had rashly promised to "eat his hat" if Cope received fewer votes in the 2014 ballot than it had five years previously.

Local journalists displayed an admirable commitment to holding politicians to account when Lekota was duly handed a hat to eat, complete with tomato sauce after the 2014 vote count revealed that Cope had won well over a million votes fewer than the party had managed in 2009.

In 2009, the party clinched 1,311,027 votes in its first outing as a breakaway faction of the ANC. By 2014, its fortunes...

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