LGE2K: An Analysis of Media Coverage of the 2000 Local Government Elections

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On the 5th of December 2000 South Africans voted for the second time in the Local Government Elections. Unlike the 1995 LGE which were preceded by the euphoria of the first national democratic elections and doubt as to whether the LGE would take place, the 2000 LGE, although delayed against the background of the opposition parties uniting to oppose the ANC took place uneventfully. There were a variety of candidates who stood as independents. In addition to this it was expected that as people had already voted for local government in 1995 that there would be greater knowledge of the process and consequently greater capacity for change at local levels. Overall the coverage by the media was low compared to previous elections, this was in line with the general attitude of political parties who appeared to express minimal interest in the process. While it was true that people had greater knowledge of the system the IEC had to deal with the number of municipalities being reduced from over 800 to around 224. The concomitant changes in the voting system as well as the complexities involved were poorly represented in the media.

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