12/03/2014 A message at the doors of the IEC's offices in Centurion moments after closing their doors following the deadline for political parties to submit their candidate lists. Picture: Phill Magakoe

Cape Town -

The Western Cape will field the highest proportion of female candidates in the upcoming elections, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) announced.

In total, 43 percent of the candidates on the province's regional, national and provincial lists are women.

The national average is 40.2 percent.

A total of 8 651 candidates from 45 political parties are standing for election throughout the country on May 7.

“Men continue to make up the bulk of candidates, with 59.8 percent of the total candidates compared to 40.2 percent women,” the IEC said yesterday.

“This is despite the fact that women registered voters outnumber men 54.9 percent to 45.1 percent. However, gender representation continues to show steady improvement over the years,” it said.

In the 1999 elections, only 27 percent of candidates - less than one in three - were women. This increased to 31 percent in 2004, then to 39 percent in 2009.

The IEC also released statistics showing which parties came closest to equal gender representation.

Of the 825 candidates on ANC lists, 413 are women and 412 are men.

This gives the party almost perfectly equal gender representation.

The DA is fielding 829 candidates, and 296 - or roughly 36 percent - are women.

The EFF has 814 candidates on the ballot, 334 - 41 percent - of them women.

For other major parties, the proportion of women candidates are: IFP 48 percent, Cope 43 percent, the ACDP 36 percent, the UDM 31 percent, and AgangSA 30 percent.

But the winner is the Keep it Straight and Simple party, with 100 percent female representation.

It is, however, fielding only one candidate.

The party with both the oldest and youngest candidates is the African People’s Convention. The oldest candidate is 89, while the youngest will be 18 years, 4 months and 13 days old on election day.

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