(Bloomberg) -- South Africa will hold national and provincial elections on May 29 that are set to be the most hotly contested since apartheid ended three decades ago, with a record 27.7 million people having registered to cast their ballots. Here’s a timeline of the key events:

  • Political parties have begun wrapping up their campaigns this weekend, holding a number of mass rallies planned around the country.
  • Seventy political parties and 11 independents are running for seats in parliament and the nine provincial legislatures.
  • The 23,292 voting stations are due to open at 7 a.m. and close at 9 p.m., although those still in the line at that time will be allowed to cast their ballots.
  • Three ballot papers will be issued for the first time: One will be used to select members of the provincial legislatures; another to allocate half of the 400 seats in the National Assembly to political parties based on a proportional representation system; and the third to determine how the remaining 200 seats will be shared out between the parties and independent candidates.
  • About 5,000 observers from 160 local and international organizations have been accredited to monitor the election.
  • Ballots will be counted at the polling stations and the tallies will be transmitted to the national results center in Johannesburg, where they will be assimilated.
  • The vote count is expected to be completed by about June 1, and the results will be announced by the Electoral Commission of South Africa along with the allocation of seats in the legislatures. The outcome must be announced within seven days of the vote.
  • Under the constitution, the National Assembly must be convened no more than 14 days after the declaration of the results. Its first order of business will be to elect a speaker and then the nation’s president. The provincial legislatures will similarly elect speakers and premiers.
  • If the National Assembly fails to agree on a new president, the nation’s chief justice can order lawmakers to adjourn for no more than seven days and then resume voting.
  • If they still can’t choose a leader within 90 days of reconvening, fresh elections must be held.

Bloomberg Terminal clients can click on ELEC ZA for more on South Africa’s elections.

--With assistance from Gina Turner and Paul Richardson.

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