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In South Africa, high-risk legislative elections for the ANC

South Africa began &agrav; vote in the most contested legislative elections since the end of apartheid, with the ANC in power for 30 years at risk of losing its majority for the first time. absolute in Parliament.

In Soweto, a huge township near Johannesburg, the first voters, down jackets or shawls on their shoulders to brave the cold of this southern winter morning, took their place in line to vote in the primary school where President Cyril Ramaphosa, 71 years old, is expected in the morning.

“I got up early to vote for the party that I love, the one that made me what I am today,” Agnes Ngobeni, 76, told AFP, making little secret of her loyalty to the ANC. “My vote will still count today,” added the grandmother, all smiles.

In Zulu country (East), Bhekumuzi Shange, 81, who “never liked the ANC”, was also among the first to present himself on a dirt road leading to Ntolwane primary school, AFP also noted.

Offices will remain open until 9 p.m. (7 p.m. GMT) on this public holiday. Final results are not expected before the weekend. It is Parliament which will then elect the next president in June.

On Monday and Tuesday already, more than 1.6 million voters – disabled, elderly, prisoners , police officers or journalists – were able to vote early.

In South Africa, high-risk legislative elections for the ANC

Ballots, May 27 in Johannesburg © AFP – Michele Spatari

Some 27.6 million registered voters will vote for lists, proportional. They must check two separate ballots to elect their deputies: a blue one with lists composed at the national level, and a second orange, presenting roughly the same parties but with a mix of more local elected officials.

Finally, they must form a cross on a third ballot, pink in color, to elect their provincial assemblies and leave with their thumbs tinted with indelible ink, to limit fraud.

– End of ANC hegemony –

This election is “undoubtedly the most unpredictable since 1994,” notes political analyst Daniel Silke.

Due to growing disillusionment with the ANC, linked to “its inability to ensure economic growth and create jobs” in particular, but also to curb poverty, inequality, crime or the supply of water and electricity, the dominant party must prepare for “a result potentially lower than 50%”.

Which means, if this scenario were confirmed, that it will have to form a coalition to stay in power and “will need one or more partners to govern”. The nature of these alliances, more towards the liberal center or to its left, will determine “the future direction of South Africa”.

In South Africa, high-risk legislative elections for the ANC

South Africa: the outgoing Parliament © AFP – Guillermo RIVAS PACHECO, Valentina BRESCHI

If the ANC's score is better than announced (between 40 and 47% according to the polls), namely just below 50%, it will then only need a few parliamentarians from small parties to maintain its general line.

Participation has steadily declined over the five-year terms, going from 89% in 1999 to 66% in the last elections in 2019.

Due to a fragmented opposition, all observers expect the ANC to remain the largest party in Parliament, where it currently has 230 out of 400 MPs.

But its “power” linked to its aura as a former liberation movement, which took the country out of the clutches of apartheid, is weakening. “This of course creates opportunities” for the country, Mr. Silke further notes, “but in the meantime, it promises an unstable and unpredictable immediate future”.

In South Africa, high-risk legislative elections for the ANC

Jacob Zuma at the last MK meeting, May 26, 2024 © AFP – Michele Spatari

The first opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), which promises to “save South Africa” ​​and in particular its economy, could win around 25% of the votes cast.

But the biggest threat to the ANC could come from the small party (MK) led by former president Jacob Zuma, which could attract up to 14% of voters. voters, capitalizing on those disappointed with the ruling party.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116