South Africa Court Opens Door For Independent Candidates

South Africa’s Constitutional Court has ruled that the current Electoral Act, which bars independent candidates from running for office, is unconstitutional.

It’s a ruling that could change the face of South African politics. Until now only members of political parties were allowed to run for office. In future elections, the field will be open to individuals to stand for provincial and national positions.

South African voters have become increasingly disillusioned by the country’s parties – evidenced by a consistent decline in voter turnout in recent years.

Critics say the country has become in effect a three-party democracy – a tussle between the governing African National Congress (ANC) and opposition parties, the Democratic Alliance and the Economic Freedom Fighters.

But all three parties have had their fair share of controversy – from allegations of corruption and cronyism to a lack of delivery on election promises.

The little-known New Nation Movement – which brought the legal challenge – argued that the electoral law infringes a person’s right to make individual political choices.

South Africa’s parliament has been given two years to change the legislation.