July 21, 2024

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The ANC party that freed South Africa from apartheid loses its 30-year majority, signaling first-ever coalition government to come

2 min read

The African National Congress party lost its parliamentary majority in a historic election result Saturday that puts South Africa on a new political path for the first time since the end of the apartheid system of white minority rule 30 years ago.

With more than 99% of votes counted, the once-dominant ANC had received just over 40% in Wednesday’s election, well short of the majority it had held since the famed all-race vote of 1994 that ended apartheid and brought it to power under Nelson Mandela.

The final results are still to be formally declared by the Independent Electoral Commission, but the ANC cannot pass 50% and an era of coalition government — also a first for South Africa — is looming.

The electoral commission said it would formally declare the results on Sunday.

While opposition parties hailed the outcome as a momentous breakthrough for a country struggling with deep poverty and inequality, the ANC remained the biggest party by some way.

However, the unprecedented slump in its support means it will now likely need to look for a coalition partner or partners to remain in the government and reelect President Cyril Ramaphosa for a second and final term. Parliament must meet to elect the South African president within 14 days after the election result is declared.

“The way to rescue South Africa is to break the ANC’s majority and we have done that,” said John Steenhuisen, the leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance party.

Julius Malema, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters opposition party, said that the ANC’s “entitlement of being the sole dominant party” was over.

The way forward threatens to be complicated for Africa’s most advanced economy, and there’s no coalition on the table yet. The three main opposition parties and many more smaller ones were in the mix as the bargaining begins.

“We can talk to anybody and everybody,” ANC Chairman Gwede Mantashe said on national…

Gerald Imray, Mogomotsi Magome, The Associated Press

2024-06-01 18:21:20

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