Elections in South Africa – New era: ANC clearly lacks an absolute majority


South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), has lost its absolute majority in parliamentary elections for the first time since the end of apartheid thirty years ago. With almost 98 percent of the votes counted, the ANC stood at 40.11 percent on Saturday, according to the National Electoral Commission (IEC). This represents a dramatic loss of power of about 17 percentage points for the ruling party, which received 57.5 percent of the vote in 2019.

For the party of former anti-apartheid fighter Nelson Mandela, this means more than a gigantic electoral debacle. The former liberation movement has never had to make political compromises. The time needed to form a coalition is tight: within fourteen days of the official announcement of the election results by the IEC, the 400 newly elected parliamentarians must form a government and elect a president.

Who will be a coalition partner?
According to political commentators, there are mainly two parties that can be considered coalition partners: on the one hand, the economically liberal Democratic Alliance (DA), which has 21.71 percent according to the preliminary partial results. The DA is ideologically far removed from the ANC, but has already proven itself at provincial level: since 2009 it has governed the Western Cape province, in which the tourist metropolis of Cape Town is located.

According to analysts, the other option for a coalition is a merger of the ANC with the Marxist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, which advocates large-scale expropriations and nationalizations without compensation and stands at 9.37 percent according to preliminary partial results. . Because the EFF is led by former ANC youth wing chairman Julius Malema, the ANC and the EFF are relatively close politically. However, such a coalition could scare away investors and deepen the country’s economic crisis.

Ramaphosa does not want to resign
The ANC was silent on Saturday morning. ANC deputy general secretary Momvula Mikonyane had only assured in a brief press conference the day before that President Cyril Ramaphosa would not resign. However, it is now unclear whether Ramaphosa will be re-elected by parliament for a fifth term as head of state.

The 71-year-old was once considered a beacon of hope for the rainbow nation. In 2018, he removed Zuma, who had systematically exploited the state for years. Today, however, Ramaphosa is accused of being largely unable to act during his six years in office due to power plays within the party.

DA leader John Steenhuisen described the general election outcome as a “victory for South African democracy”, even though the formation of a government is still unclear. “To save South Africa, the absolute majority of the ANC had to be broken and we achieved that,” Steenhuisen said.

Source: Krone


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