ANC Draft of South African Constitution Signals Agreement on Nature of Democracy
THE African National Congress published a draft constitution for South Africa Friday which suggests broad consensus with the government on the need for a multiparty democracy, a Bill of Rights, and an independent judiciary. The 32-page document - due to be discussed and ratified at the ANC's national conference in June - has been widely welcomed by political scientists, liberal politicians, and the news media. The government reserved comment on grounds that the document is not final.Skip to next paragraph
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The draft represents important shifts in ANC thinking - on the voting system and nature of the legislature - which bring it closer to the government, but fundamental differences remain.
The two now broadly agree on: a multiparty democracy with elections every five years; an independent judiciary with power to set aside legislation; a bill of rights with special protection for languages; national and regional elections based on the principle of proportional representation; a legislature with two houses similar to the United States; the reincorporation of four nominally independent tribal homelands.
The ANC favors a unitary state which would have power to redress historical imbalances in housing, education, and health care; the government favors a federal system with strong regional and local power structures. Differences also remain on the nature and powers of the Senate and structure of the executive.