South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ruling ANC won re-election yesterday with an absolute majority in parliament, results showed, but with diminished support, complicating economic revival and anti-corruption efforts.
The results, published by the electoral commission, are the party’s worst national showing since Nelson Mandela led it to victory in the first multi-racial polls after apartheid ended in 1994.
The African National Congress (ANC) held a comfortable lead with 57.73 % at 1615 GMT after 95 % of voting districts were officially tallied following Wednesday’s vote.
That means they will be mathematically assured more than 50% of votes cast in the final official tally, due to be announced today.
Seats in parliament are allocated based on vote share and the party with the most representatives selects the president, who will be sworn in on May 25.
President Ramaphosa, 66, took over last year when the ANC forced then-president Jacob Zuma to resign after nine years dominated by corruption allegations and economic decline.
Results released by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) showed the ANC’s closest rival, the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), trailing with a distant 20.65% of the vote.
The Economic Freedom Fighters, founded six years ago by former ANC youth leader Julius Malema, was in third place with 10.51 % — up four percentage points on 2014.
“The ANC are being given a chance,” said political analyst Lumkile Mondi. “This is an opportunity for them to reincarnate themselves.”
“The ANC is never going to perform any better, it’s a dying party, it continues shedding votes — because it does not have economic management capability.”
Ramaphosa has so far faced resistance to his reform agenda, especially from Zuma’s allies who still occupy several high-ranking positions in the party and government.
After casting his ballot on Wednesday, Ramaphosa said the election was “heralding a new dawn...a period of renewal, a period of hope”. The ANC’s reputation was badly sullied under Zuma.
Its support has fallen in every election since 2004 with the party taking 54% in 2016 municipal elections, compared with 62 % in 2014’s national vote.
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