Early elections call by ANC statement by the UDM President (19 November 2008)

The notes with amusement reports that the ANC has resolved to hold early elections. If indeed, as they keep telling us, there is no crisis in the ANC, why the sudden about-turn after repeated assurances that the current Parliament would serve its full term? To us this is just another sign of desperation by the ruling party.

It also again demonstrates the tendency of the new leadership of the ANC to confuse matters of party and state; this is an announcement that should be made by the President of the country.

We are convinced that the timing is influenced by the NPA's projected date of recharging/prosecuting Mr Zuma by April next year. No doubt they hope that by the time the NPA has cleared the remaining legal hurdles to proceed with the case against Zuma, he will already be installed as President of the country and his supporters will have been appointed to oversee the NPA and have the case abandoned.

The rush to elections also adds further fuel to speculation that Zuma's supporters are concerned about Mr Motlanthe's popularity - a rumour that the Tripartite Alliance started itself by accusing the SABC of projecting Motlanthe as being too 'presidential'.

The irony of the ANC's attempt at trying to catch other parties off-guard with an early election is that the party that is least prepared to contest an early election right now is the ANC itself. Now that they've received millions from the BEE millionaires they helped to create, they evidently seem to think their woes are resolved.

The IEC and all political parties have been planning around 6 May as a possible date of election; if the IEC endorses this earlier date instead of the one discussed with other political parties it will once more raise questions about the independence of the IEC.