South Africa is voting in parliamentary elections, which will also determine the next president.
It’s the first election since Nelson Mandela died, and the first time “born frees,” people born after white minority rule, may vote.
The ruling ANC has been in power since the first post-apartheid elections in 1994 and is favourite to win a majority, despite its leader Jacob Zuma being dogged by a corruption scandal.
Despite expecting to poll second, the Democratic Alliance lacks mass appeal and has struggled to shed its image as a “white” party.
Perhaps his most spirited challenge comes from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), whose leader models himself on Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, even down to the red beret.
EFF’s plans to nationalise land and banks are popular in a country with a jobless rate of over 25 percent.
Former President F.W. de Klerk said tensions between different races and ethnic groups are not as bad as media reports suggest.
“It’s one of the successes of the new South Africa that people are getting along with each other. There is much less tension between races and ethnic groups than appears from media and political leaders sometimes, sort of stimulate at grass root level,” said de Klerk.
Opinion polls suggest there is no doubt about the overall result. ANC support is estimated around 65 percent.
A firm idea of the outcome should emerge early, by Thursday afternoon.