Opinion | 2019 South African Elections in relation to Proportional Representation

Ernesto Kofi Yeboah, Leader of EFL - Ghana

Ernesto Yeboah, who leads a community of young activists – Economic Fighters League, draws lessons from recent South African elections in terms of proportional representation. The 2019 elections in South Africa brought the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to a position as the second largest political group in three provinces.

The 2019 elections certainly draws lessons for Ghana as a country that boasts of a thriving democracy. But is Ghana growing stronger as a multi-party democratic state, or it is just entrenching as a two-party state? Ernesto anchors his views based on a history of minor parties being dwindled into the womb of bigger parties like NDC and NPP. Although there is political inclusion through appointments of key individuals in minor parties into Government positions of bigger parties,  Ghana’s experience of First Past the Post Electoral System (FTPT) is shrinking the minor parties alongside the weaknesses of the minor parties to stand independently against the bigger parties.

According to him, “Ghana’s FPTP electoral system has proved to be pretentious and wasteful in practice. It is the case in Ghana that most MP’s choose their party’s take on issues over the national interest or views of their constituents. So they go to Parliament not to represent the people but their parties. Yet, so much money is wasted in campaigns at the constituencies just for one to become a Member of Parliament…..In contrast, South Africa takes an honest approach based on the party-list Proportional Representation electoral system, where voters know right from the onset that they are voting for parties, and not for individuals.”

He recommends proportional representation as a key panacea to greater participation in the governance of the country and also as an instrument to win Ghana from unbridled polarization as a result of the two dominant parties.

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LESSONS FROM THE 2019 SOUTH AFRICAN ELECTIONS IN RELATION TO THE PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION ELECTORAL SYSTEM

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