Two-party race leads to apathy

2011-04-20 00:00

THE African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) chairperson and member of the KZN Legislature, Jo-Ann Downs, says the Democratic Alliance is creating a two- party local government race, which is bad for democracy.

Downs was commenting on the DA’s recent alliance with Patricia de Lille’s Independent Democrats, and the erstwhile alliance with the New National Party.

“Every time the DA take in a party, they actually reduce the opposition. Statistics have shown that fewer members of the original party join with the DA. They then either join the ANC or they don’t vote,” Downs said.

She added that prior to the New National Party aligning with the then Democratic Party to become the DA, the NNP had 20% of the vote.

“Today the DA has only 13% at most. Many voters align themselves with the values or policies of a particular party. When their vote is swallowed up into an amorphous alliance, they lose interest and even abstain from voting altogether.

“We do not want a situation that exists in the United Kingdom and the U.S., which have two dominant parties and widespread voter apathy as a result. Our young and somewhat fragile democracy needs a multitude of voices and platforms from which they can be expressed,” she added.

Downs said this is why the Constitution was written and the proportional representation system was chosen to include all voices, especially minority voices.

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