Quote of the week

It is necessary that the integrity of the electoral process be maintained. Indeed, the acceptance of the election as being free and fair depends upon that integrity. Elections must not only be free and fair but they must be perceived as being free and fair. Even-handedness in dealing with all political parties and candidates is crucial to that integrity and its perception by voters. The Commission must not be placed in a situation where it has to make ad hoc decisions about political parties and candidates who have not complied with the Act. The requirement that documents must be submitted to the local offices of the Commission does not undermine the right to vote and to stand for election. It simply gives effect to that right and underscores the decentralised and local nature of municipal elections.

Ngcobo CJ
Electoral Commission of the Republic of South Africa v Inkatha Freedom Party
20 September 2008

Who will be the President?

If the ANC decides not to have an early election, a President must be chosen within 30 days from among the members of the National Assembly. As Jacob Zuma is not a member of the National Assembly and cannot become one before the election because he is not at the top of one of their election lists, the question is who will take over as caretaker President until the next election.

Some newspaper reports have suggested the Speaker Baleka Mbete will take over. But she will first have to resign as Speaker before she could be elected President for the period until the next election by June 2009. Some suggests that Kgalema Motlanthe is not trusted by the Zuma camp but he should be the obvious choice for caretaker President until the 2009 election.

I am surprised the ANC has not said anything about this at the news conference. They have been very vague, merely muttering about “Parliamentary process”. If they want stability they need to tell us as soon as possible what the next move is. Or have they not yet decided on a next move? If they have not, they are even more irresponsible than I thought.

See also my post here that spells out the procedures in the Constitution for when a President resigns.

UPDATE: Two thoughts just came to me. Maybe the Presidency is referring to the requirement that the cabinet must designate an acting President from among its members and will only resign once the cabinet has designated one of its members to act as President? Also, maybe the President wants to resign in a speech to the National Assembly. Now that will be an interesting speech to watch!

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