Page last updated at 12:25 GMT, Thursday, 12 March 2009

South African expats vote upheld

South African rugby fans in London
Britain has a large South African diaspora community

South Africa's highest court has upheld a decision to allow South Africans living abroad to vote in elections set for next month.

The Constitutional Court ruled only expatriates who were already registered to vote would be eligible.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said it had the time to process overseas votes for the 22 April poll.

Analysts say the ruling will boost opposition parties but is not expected to dent the ANC's share of the vote.

The case was brought by the opposition Afrikaner nationalist Freedom Front Plus party on behalf of a South African teacher living in the UK.

The IEC said about 5,000 South Africans outside the country had already notified the body of their intention to vote.

Other would-be overseas voters must notify the electoral commission of their intention to do so before 27 March, it said.

Two million South Africans have left the country in recent years because of fear of crime and to get jobs.

The African National Congress faces a challenge from a breakaway party in the elections.

But it is widely expected the ANC will win and its leader Jacob Zuma will become president.

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The EconomistA new presidential candidate in South Africa - 20 hrs ago
SABC IEC's voter education targets illiterate - 27 hrs ago
The Scotsman South Africa court rules expats' votes can be counted - 35 hrs ago
Sky News Expats Can Vote In S Africa Poll - With Catch - 41 hrs ago
Xinhua News Agency South African parties welcome vote ruling for compatriots living abroad - 43 hrs ago
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