Spread the love

South Africa: election of the president, before a coalition government

The South African National Assembly, the result of the most disputed legislative elections of this young democracy born after apartheid, sits for the first time on Friday for éelect the head of state, who will form an unprecedented coalition government.

Cyril Ramaphosa, 71, should be reappointed as head of the country although his party, the African National Congress (ANC), in power for thirty years, has lost its absolute majority in Parliament.

But with 159 deputies out of 400, the ANC remains the majority party and should, under the leadership of the popular Ramaphosa, form a coalition government, notably with the first opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA, liberal center, 87 seats), and the Zulu nationalist Inkhata Party (IFP, 17 seats).

“Besides the DA and the IFP, Ramaphosa will seek to obtain the support of smaller parties, in order to guard against the possibility that some members of his own party, the ANC, shun him”, notes political scientist Susan Booysen. “He'll need that bumper,” despite the great relaxed attitude displayed during each of his recent public appearances.

South Africa: election of the president, before a coalition government

President Cyril Ramaphosa and his vice-president Paul Mashatile at an ANC executive meeting on June 6, 2024 in Boksburg © AFP – Phill Magakoe

The Assembly, which sits in Cape Town, is expected to elect its president and deputy in the morning. The speaker should come from the ANC but the identity of the deputy, depending on his political affiliation, could suggest the nature of the government to come.

Then, around 2:00 p.m. (12:00 GMT), the deputies will have to propose candidates for the presidency of the country.

If Cyril Ramaphosa, dubbed at the end of apartheid by Nelson Mandela as one of the most gifted of his generation, is the only candidate, he will be elected. Otherwise, a secret ballot will be held.

The president will be sworn in at the end of next week, during a ceremony in Pretoria.

– “Talks” –

For several days, an ANC-DA-IFP troika seemed to be taking shape, despite tensions on the left of the ANC, which takes a dim view of an alliance with the DA, appreciated by the business world which remains widely perceived like the Whites' party, opposed to the weight of social assistance on the budget in particular.

South Africa: election of the president, before a coalition government

John Steenhuisen, leader of the DA, during the results of the legislative elections, May 31, 2024, near Johannesburg © AFP – Michele Spatari

Wednesday evening, the leader of Inkhata confirmed the rumor: “The IFP will join a government of national unity with the ANC and the DA,” Velenkosini Hlabisa announced to the press, pleading for “the stability” of the countries so that South Africans see “their challenges taken into account”.

Last week, President Ramaphosa called for a “government of national unity “, a comforting reference to the formula found at the end of apartheid with the formation of a government uniting the first black president Nelson Mandela and the country's last white president Frederik de Klerk.

He invited all parties from the far right to the far left to “work together”.

South Africa: election of the president, before a coalition government

Supporters of the Inkatha Party (IFP) in Alexandra, May 29, 2024 © AFP – EMMANUEL CROSET

“The ANC is embarking on this path under the guise of a government of national unity, but in reality this is not the case… these are more coalition talks,” emphasizes political scientist Hlengiwe Ndlovu, referring to the turbulent backstage for several days between political parties and within the ANC.

On Thursday night, the ANC confirmed that the party would have to “gravitate around the centre” after the left-wing opposition rejected the deal, its secretary-general Fikile Mbalula said.

The MK, the new party of former president accused of corruption Jacob Zuma, which has become the third largest political force with 58 seats, has declined, refusing any discussions with the ANC as long as Mr Ramaphosa remains at the head of the country.

South Africa: election of the president, before a coalition government

Julius Malema, leader of the EFF, during a press conference in Cape Town on June 13, 2024 © AFP – Rodger BOSCH

The MK, which continues to contest the results of the legislative elections, has also planned to boycott this first parliamentary session.

And the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF, radical left, 39 seats), which advocates the confiscation of land from whites or the privatisation of key sectors of the economy, are opposed to joining a government that includes the liberal DA.

“The DA is our enemy,” its leader Julius Malema recalled on Thursday evening.

All reproduction and representation rights 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