South African election: ANC loses 30-year majority

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The African National Congress The party lost its parliamentary majority on Saturday in a historic election that set South Africa on a new political path for the first time since the end of white-minority apartheid 30 years ago.

With nearly 99% of the votes counted, the The once dominant ANC It won just 40% in Wednesday’s election, far short of the majority it had won since the famous 1994 all-race vote. It ended apartheid and brought it to power Under Nelson Mandela. The final results are yet to be formally declared by the Independent Election Commission, which conducted the election.

While the opposition hailed it as an important breakthrough for a country struggling with deep poverty and inequality, the ANC was by far the largest party but must now seek a coalition partner or partners to stay in government and re-elect President Cyril Ramaphosa. For the second and final term. Parliament elects the President of South Africa after national elections.

The ANC’s result ended three decades of dominance of South Africa’s young democracy, but the road ahead promises to be complicated. Africa’s most advanced economyAnd there’s still no alliance on the table.

The main opposition Democratic Alliance won 21% of the vote. New MK Party Former President Jacob Zuma, who turned against the ANC he led, came third with just 14% of the vote in the first election it contested.

Which parties can the ANC approach? Co-governance is now an urgent focus as Parliament must meet to elect a president within 14 days of the final election results being officially announced. A hectic round of negotiations was about to take place, and they would be complicated.

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The MK party said one of its conditions for any deal would be the removal of Ramaphosa as ANC president and leader.

“We are ready to negotiate with the ANC, but not with Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC,” MK party spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndlela said.

More than 50 parties contested the national election, but given how far the ANC appears to be from a majority, it may have to approach one of the three main opposition parties.

MK and the radical left Economic Freedom Fighters They have demanded nationalization of some parts of the economy. Centrist Democratic Alliance Analysts say the ANC-DA coalition is seen as a business-friendly party and will be more welcomed by foreign investors.

Despite the uncertainty, South African opposition parties The new political picture was hailed as a much-needed change for the country of 62 million people, Africa’s most developed but one of the world’s most unequal.

South Africa has widespread poverty Very high unemployment rate And the ANC fought to raise the standard of living for millions. The official unemployment rate is 32%, one of the highest in the world, and poverty disproportionately affects black people, who make up 80% of the population and have been the core of the ANC’s support for years.

The ANC has been accused of failing to deliver basic government services – and apparently punished by the electorate. Affecting millions And many are without running water, electricity or proper housing.

“We’ve been saying for the last 30 years that the way to save South Africa is to break the ANC’s majority, and we’ve done that,” said John Steenhuizen, president of the Democratic Alliance.

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Nearly 28 million South Africans are registered to vote and turnout is expected to be around 60%, according to figures from the Independent Electoral Commission, which is running the election.


Imre reports from Cape Town, South Africa.


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