Thursday, April 15, 2004

The Kwa Zulu-Natal Contest
With the IFP currently on 39.95 percent in KZN and the DA on 9.17 percent, the 'Coalition for Change' is still just short of what is needed to take the province (Check IEC website for regular updates on this). Nevertheless, I'm going to stick my neck out and say that I think they'll probably end up with just enough to form the provincial government. A lot of the rural vote in KZN still has to be counted and, on past form, rural areas have usually voted IFP.

That said, it is still possible that once all the votes have been tallied the DA: IFP will still be short of 50 percent. Under these circumstances, they have two options. The one is to scrounge around and find support from one of the other parties, with the Freedom Front being a possibility since their signing of an electoral agreement with the IFP two weeks ago. Even this might not be enough though and, even if it is, agreements involving more than 2 parties are prone to collapsing under the weight of their own complexity with all the trouble that that entails. Furthermore, the DA: IFP risk looking incredibly silly and mean-spirited if they are seen to be desperately casting around for anybody, except the ANC, with whom to form an alliance. I'm sure they know this, which is why I'm going to stick my neck out a second time tonight and say that if the DA: IFP don't get 50 percent they'll be forced to form a coalition with the ANC.

It's interesting to speculate on the dynamics of such a coalition. If the IFP works with the ANC, then it has no need for the DA of course, and if it dumps the DA, I'm sure the ANC would reward Buthelezi with another national ministerial post. For what it's worth, I've heard rumours in the past that many senior IFP members are in favour of working with the ANC. If the choice in KZN is between struggling to put together a workable coalition with the DA and some other party or carrying on as before in alliance with the ANC (and with the prospect of a few national posts being dangled in front of them) I wonder if the IFP will stick to its guns.

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