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Ruling party leads as counting continues in South African election

The country’s electoral commission plans to announce the final result on Sunday

South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has begun to announce preliminary results from the country’s hotly contested national and provincial elections, with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) leading despite a decline in support.

According to the results published on the IEC’s website on Friday, the ANC received 41.9% of the votes counted from 61.16% of polling stations – a substantial decrease from 57.5% in the previous national election in 2019.

The Democratic Alliance (DA), South Africa’s largest opposition party, is currently in second place with 22.97%.

Former president Jacob Zuma’s newly formed Umkonto We Sizwe party has taken third place with 11.66% of the vote, defeating many old parties, including the Marxist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), which was the third-largest party in parliament. The EFF has received 9.52% of the votes so far.

Zuma was barred from running for parliament after being convicted of contempt of court, but his name remained on the ballot as MK leader.

Polling stations across the African nation opened on Wednesday for approximately 28 million voters. Stations had been scheduled to close at 9pm but faced delays due to clashes, power outages, and other disruptions in various parts of the country.

The ANC, which has held power since the end of white minority Apartheid 30 years ago, has been criticized for failing to deliver on its “better life for all” promise, which helped its first leader, Nelson Mandela, win the country’s first democratic election in 1994 and has kept it in power since then.

In his final campaign speech on Sunday, the BRICS member state’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, urged supporters to keep the ANC in power to enable his government to perform “better” and “do more.”

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The South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research predicts that the party will receive 40.5% of the vote in the final results, losing its majority for the first time since 1994.

A party’s share of the vote determines the number of seats it wins in the National Assembly, which then elects the next president, as South Africans do not vote directly for a leader.

President Ramaphosa could face pressure from the ANC to resign if the party receives less than 45% of the final vote, William Gumede, chairman of the non-profit Democracy Works Foundation, said in an interview published by the BBC on Wednesday.

“Nobody is going to resign … Collectively, all of us, we still are confident that he [Ramaphosa] has to remain the president of the ANC,” the coalition’s Deputy Secretary-General Nomvula Mokonyane told reporters at the results center, Reuters reported on Friday.

John Steenhuisen, the leader of the DA, which has formed an alliance with 11 smaller parties to broaden its appeal in an effort to unseat the ANC, told Reuters that he would meet with coalition members over the weekend to discuss the possibility of its expansion.

May 31, 2024 at 08:20PM

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