Sunday, April 19, 2009

S. AFRICA HOLDS FINAL RALLIES !

Rival political parties in South Africa are holding their final rallies ahead of the country's general election.
Some 200,000 supporters of the governing ANC are expected to listen to party leader Jacob Zuma give a keynote speech in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Breakaway party, Cope, is also holding its final rally, in Limpopo province.
Mr Zuma is expected to become president after Wednesday's poll, the most competitive since the end of apartheid in South Africa in 1994.
But the BBC's Peter Biles, in Johannesburg, says Cope - The Congress of the People - has changed the political landscape since it was launched four months ago.
Made up largely of former African National Congress members, the latest opinion polls indicate that Cope could get as much as 15% of the national vote.
'Tougher fight'
Thousands of ANC supporters, dressed in the party's colours of green, gold and black thronged central Johannesburg on Sunday morning - with Mr Zuma's face staring out from flags, banners and T-shirts, reports said.
The rally, in Johannesburg's Ellis Park, was beginning on Sunday morning, with Mr Zuma expected to speak around lunchtime.
The ANC is hoping to repeat the success of five years ago when it secured a two-thirds majority in parliament, but this time, it is going to be a lot tougher, our correspondent says.
On Saturday, thousands attended a Cape Town meeting of the official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance.
Leader Helen Zille told supporters: "Every vote counts in this election, every single vote, because your vote may be the one that keeps the ANC under that two-thirds majority, and your vote - especially here in this stadium today - your vote may be the very one that wins the Western Cape for the DA."
The DA fears that if the ANC achieves the two-thirds majority, it might use it to change the constitution to influence the independence of the judicial system.
Ms Zille also made frequent reference to criminal charges of corruption and racketeering brought against Mr Zuma which he denies and which were dismissed earlier this month.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) reports that more than 23 million people, including 16,000 of the South African diaspora, have registered to vote in what is being seen as the most important election since the end of apartheid istory.
BBC NEWS REPORT.

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