Voting closed for new DA leaders

Port Elizabeth - The voting process is now closed at the 2015 DA Federal Congress in Port Elizabeth where the new party leadership is being elected. 

Doors opened at 6:30 sharp on Sunday and the voting closed at 8:30. 

The votes are currently being counted by the party's staff.

At least 1 370 delegates were expected to have voted for their candidate of choice for the highly contested positions. 

The federal leadership position is being contested by parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane, outgoing federal chair Wilmot James and two other members Adrian Naidoo and Morgan Oliphant. 

Congress Convener Greg Krumbock told News24 that delegates started queuing as early as 05:45 on Sunday.

"By 7:15 we already had a 30% poll turnout. We had a 94% registration on Saturday, so the number will undoubtedly be higher today (on Sunday). Voting went very well. There were no queues and delegates were in good spirits," said Krumbock. 

Krumbock and presiding officer Penny Tainton are expected to announce the voting results at 13:00 to the delegates. 

"We will announce the federal council, three deputy federal chairpersons and the federal chairperson result. Following the tradition, established in 2007, Helen Zille will announce the new federal leader result," said Krumbock. 

The candidates for federal chairperson were the party's Eastern Cape leader Athol Trollip, outgoing deputy Makashule Gana and MP Masizole Mnqasela.

Gana quipped on Sunday morning: "I have voted for myself."

James arrived earlier wearing his signature gold shirt. 

He declined to say who he voted for.

"I voted for the best candidate," James said.

Voting process

Delegates first signed and collected their ballot papers from their respective provinces.

The process of voting was called the "single transferable vote process".

This meant that voting delegates had to numerically rank each candidate for a particular position.

Each candidate was assigned a number on the ballot. The delegate then had to rank each of them by putting their assigned number next to the first, second or third options.

If a delegate did not vote for every single candidate, their vote would be considered as spoilt and would not be counted.

Tainton said the process was quite complex, but "lots of effort" had been taken to explain it simply to delegates.

"Voting helpers are walking around and we were there to assist them, without obviously interfering or influencing their vote."

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