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Ramaphosa reelected as South African president

The 71-year-old has defeated leftist rival Julius Malema by 239 votes in the parliament

Cyril Ramaphosa has won a second term as South African president after his African National Congress (ANC) party struck a late coalition deal with long-time rivals from the center-right Democratic Alliance (DA) and other smaller parties.

The ANC, which had been in power for the last three decades since the country defeated Apartheid, lost its parliamentary majority in the election in late May. It only claimed 40.2% of the vote, with the DA receiving almost 22%.

The deal to form a government of national unity was agreed on between the parties after two weeks of intense negotiations, just hours before the National Assembly in Cape Town gathered to elect the new president on Friday.

With the DA’s backing, Ramaphosa achieved an overwhelming victory, beating the leader of the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema, by 283 to 44.

In his first address as president-elect, Ramaphosa said he was “humbled and honored” to win a second term, and that leading the country for another five years is a “big responsibility.”

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South Africa’s ruling party secures national unity government deal with opposition

“Through their votes [in the election in May], our people expect all parties to work together… to achieve the objectives of a democratic society, based on non-racialism and non-sexism, based on peace, justice, and to ensure stability and also to tackle the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment, and inequality, and to achieve prosperity for all,” he said.

As part of the coalition deal, the parliament also elected former Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza of the ANC as speaker of the National Assembly and the DA’s Annelie Lotriet as deputy speaker.

A member of the ANC’s governing body, Sihle Zikalala, wrote on X (formerly Twitter) that the formation of the unity government “marks the beginning of a new era where we put our differences aside and unite for the betterment of all South Africans.” The DA’s leader, John Steenhuisen, said that after coming together, the country’s main political forces received “an opportunity… to write a new chapter for South Africa and that chapter I think we can make the best chapter ever.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Ramaphosa, saying he looks forward to continuing constructive relations between Russia and South Africa, the Kremlin said in a statement on Saturday. Putin added that he will be happy to greet the South African leader at the BRICS summit in Kazan in October, according to the statement.


READ MORE: South African leader to skip G7 – official

The parliament stated that Ramaphosa will be sworn in as president in Pretoria, the country’s administrative capital, on June 19.

June 15, 2024 at 01:49PM
RT

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