South African election begins with overseas vote (Lead)

Pretoria, April 16 (Inditop) Thousands of South Africans living around the world descended Wednesday on their country’s missions abroad to cast their votes in the fourth general elections since the end of the apartheid era.

Some 16,240 registered South Africans living abroad are expected to vote at South African embassies in their respective countries between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Wednesday, in a process that will be overseen by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) at 124 missions, BuaNews reported.

According to South African electoral commission, almost half the registered voters aboard are in Britain. Reports say voters are already queuing outside the South African High Commission in London Wednesday morning. About 7,472 expatriates are expected to turn out in London.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and her South African delegation are expected to cast their vote in Geneva, Switzerland later today.

Because of her official engagement, the minister will not be in the country on April 22, when the rest of the country will go to polls for seats in the regional parliaments as well as the national assembly, which will then go on to vote for a new president.

The reigning African National Congress (ANC) is expected to win the election, in view of the continuing loyalty of the majority of the country’s black population to the party of former president Nelson Mandela.

However, the ANC is likely to lose some seats to the newly founded Congress of the People (COPE).