South Africa elections: Coalition talks begin as ruling ANC vote share fall, set to lose majority for the first time

South African political parties geared up for coalition talks on Friday as the early results indicated that the ruling African National Congress (ANC) might fall short of securing a majority of the popular vote, news agency Reuters reported.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (File image)(REUTERS)

This has happened for the first time in 30 years of South Africa’s democratic history. With results coming in from 61.2% of polling stations, the late Nelson Mandela’s party has secured 41.9% of votes, a huge drop from the 57.5% of votes it secured in the 2019 national election.

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Earlier in the day, the results resumed appearing on the election commission’s website, after an apparent two-hour technical glitch.

“The data in the data centre remains intact and the results have not been compromised. All services have since been restored and the leaderboard is working normally. Result processing continues unaffected,” the Election Commission of South Africa (IEC) said in a statement.

The ruling ANC has remained the largest political party since the historic 1994 vote that ended decades of white minority led rule.

The party had won every national election since 1994, but voters seem to be punishing the party for the country’s decline over the last decade. Economic stagnation has led to unemployment, poverty and increasing crime rates. Crumbling infrastructure has also led to regular power outages.

Projections by South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research indicated the ANC would get 40.5% of the total vote.

So far, the pro-business Democratic Alliance (DA) was in second place on 23%. uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), a new party led by former president Jacob Zuma, was at 11.7% and eating into ANC support, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal, Zuma’s home province.

MK had overtaken the radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), currently the third biggest party in parliament, which was sitting on 9.5%.

By law, the election commission has seven days to release full provisional results, but election officials have said they are planning to announce the results on Sunday.

The country follows the proportional voting system to elect members for the 400-member National Assembly. People vote to elect their representatives, who then select the President by a simple majority. A person needs 201 or more votes to be elected as the President.





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