DA expects to win 40% of Western Cape vote

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will win at least 40% of the vote in the Western Cape next month, allowing it to form a provincial government ”without too much drama or trauma”, party chief executive Ryan Coetzee said on Monday.

Coetzee said the projection was based on ”scientific” research by the party’s tracking service, which also forecast that the African National Congress (ANC) would come second in the province with significantly reduced support levels, followed by the Congress of the People (Cope).

He predicted that the DA would take more than 50% of the vote in a by-election in Mitchell’s Plain on Wednesday that is seen a dry run for the April 22 elections, and win another by-election in the DA heartland of Bellville the same day with ease.

”If we don’t win that one it will be a disaster on such a scale that nothing else will be worth talking about,” he joked.

Coetzee said the party would not hazard a guess on the percentage of the vote it would take in any other region or nationally in the April elections.

”It is very difficult to know. In the Western Cape we can say 40% because we know that we will be able to form a government without too much drama or trauma,” he said, referring to the DA’s battle to form a government in Cape Town in 2006.

DA leader and Cape Town mayor Helen Zille is running for premier of the Western Cape in what is expected to be the most closely fought race in the country.

She has explained the move as part of a strategy to persuade voters that their lives improve where her party is in power, and gradually win more cities and provinces across the country.

Political analysts and recent voter surveys have forecast little growth for the official opposition party on a national level but Coetzee said it was likely to increase its voter support beyond the 12,3% it took in 2004.

He said Cope was not posing any strong competition because it has ”failed to live up to the hype of its launch” in December, but conceded that a two-thirds majority for the ANC was ”not impossible” though not a foregone conclusion either. — Sapa

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