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South Africa’s leader will not resign – party

The ruling African National Congress has lost its 30-year majority in the latest general election

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party will not consider any demands from potential coalition partners for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s resignation, its secretary-general, Fikile Mbalula, declared on Sunday.

Mbalula made the statement while speaking to the media ahead of the announcement of the results of last week’s National Assembly and regional parliamentary elections.

Final results announced by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on Sunday showed that the ANC had received just 40.18% of the vote, a 17-percentage point drop from its performance in the 2019 election.

The opposition centrist Democratic Alliance finished second with 21.81%, while former President Jacob Zuma’s left-wing Umkhonto Wesizwe received 14.58% of the vote.

The ANC won 159 seats in the 400-seat Parliament, down from 230 in the previous election. Opponents have accused the government of failing to fulfill its “better life for all” promise, citing persistent crime, poverty, and high unemployment rates in Africa’s most industrialized economy. Nelson Mandela led the party to victory in 1994, during the country’s first democratic elections following the end of Apartheid.

Despite having the largest share of the votes, its failure to win a majority in South Africa’s general election for the first time in 30 years has opened the door to coalition talks.

The ANC’s first deputy secretary general, Nomvula Mokonyane, stated earlier that the party is “talking to everyone” regarding a possible coalition.

Analysts cited by several media outlets have claimed that ANC leader and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa could face pressure to step down if the party fails to garner more than 45% of the vote.

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The Independent Electoral Commission National Results Center, Midrand, South Africa, May 31, 2024.
ANC loses 30-year majority in South Africa

However, on Sunday, the party’s secretary-general, Mbalula, said Ramaphosa would keep his position as leader, and that proposals for his resignation in order for coalition talks to proceed remained “a no-go area.”

“No political party will dictate terms to us, the ANC. They will not … You come to us with that demand, forget (it),” Mbalula said.

Ramaphosa, who is seeking a second and final term, requested in a speech at the result announcement ceremony on Sunday that all political parties put aside their differences and find “common ground” to form the first national coalition government.

“Our people have spoken. Whether we like it or not, they have spoken. We have heard the voices of our people and we must respect their choices and their wishes. … The people of South Africa expect their leaders to work together to meet their needs. This is a time for all of us to put South Africa first,” he said after the results were announced.

June 03, 2024 at 02:48PM

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