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South Africa Table of Contents

South Africa

Executive and Legislative Authority

The President

Under the interim constitution, executive authority is vested in the president, deputy presidents, and a cabinet chosen by the president in consultation with party leaders (see fig. 19). The executive offices are based in the administrative capital, Pretoria. The directly elected National Assembly elects the president from among its members and can remove the president from office by a vote of no-confidence or by impeachment. The president's primary responsibilities are to uphold, to defend, and to respect the constitution; to appoint cabinet members; to convene cabinet meetings; to refer bills back to the legislators or forward them to the Constitutional Court when constitutionality is in question; to summon the National Assembly for urgent matters; to appoint commissions of inquiry; to appoint ambassadors; and to accredit foreign diplomats.

According to the interim constitution, any party winning more than 20 percent of the popular vote is entitled to name a deputy president. If only one party or no party wins that percentage of votes, each of the two parties with the largest numbers of votes selects a deputy president. The deputy presidents' primary responsibilities are to assist the president in the duties of the executive and to succeed the president in the event of absence, incapacitation, or vacancy in that office. In 1994 the NP named outgoing president F. W. de Klerk and the ANC named Thabo Mbeki to serve as deputy presidents.

Data as of May 1996