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South Africa: towards a coalition government around the ANC

The ANC in power in South Africa for thirty years, which has lost its majority in Parliament this week, announcedé on Sunday discussions with other political parties to form a coalition government.

“The ANC is committed to forming a government (…) stable and capable of governing effectively,” declared its secretary general Fikile Mbalula, specifying that the party would hold discussions internally and with other parties “these next days”.

“Voters have shown that they expect the leaders of this country to work together, in the general interest,” he added before the press, while the proclamation of the consolidated results is expected at the end of the day.

South Africa: towards a coalition government around the ANC

Counting of ballots in Durban, May 29, 2024 in South Africa © AFP – GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

After counting 99.9% of the ballots, the African National Congress (ANC) obtained only 40.2% of the votes, a severe blow compared to the 57.5% that he holds in the outgoing Parliament.

This result marks a historic turning point for South Africa, where the ANC has enjoyed an absolute majority since the 1994 election of Nelson Mandela, who liberated the country from apartheid.

“We have heard the concerns, frustrations and discontent” of South Africans, added Mr. Mbalula, as the country is weighed down by persistent unemployment, high inequalities and record crime.

The ANC remains the largest party in Parliament, which will be responsible for electing the next president in June.

South Africa: towards a coalition government around the ANC

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, May 25, 2024 in Johannesburg © AFP – Phill Magakoe

The ANC must forge alliances, either to form a coalition government or to persuade other parties to support the re-election of Cyril Ramaphosa to form an ANC minority government, which will have to seek piecemeal by allies to pass its budget and bills.

The Democratic Alliance (DA), the leading opposition party with nearly 22% of the vote, announced “exploratory discussions” with other parties, to “identify options” in order to avoid at all costs an “apocalyptic” coalition between the ANC and two parties on its radical left.

– Zuma threatening –

Mr Ramaphosa is expected to speak at the results announcement ceremony, as some parties have alleged irregularities in the vote count.

The most vocal of these is the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party of former president Jacob Zuma, 82, which on Saturday called for a delay in the announcement, in a brief statement that sounded threatening.

South Africa: towards a coalition government around the ANC

Former South African President Jacob Zuma at the Electoral Commission's National Results Center in Midrand, June 1, 2024 © AFP – PHILL MAGAKOE

“If that happens, you will provoke us,” he said. “The results are not correct (…) Do not create problems where there are none,” he warned, complaining of unspecified “serious” problems.

His incarceration in July 2021 for contempt had provoked riots which left more than 350 dead.

The The police are “ready” and there is “no room for threats of instability”, the Minister of Police warned the press. His Defense colleague clarified that the government had not been “directly” in contact with the MK, but called for “calm” and respect for the law.

The MK, very established in Zulu country, becomes the third political force in the country, with 14.59% of the vote, a staggering score for a party founded a few months ago.

The electoral commission said it would examine all cases presented to it, reporting 24 cases of recounts.

South Africa: towards a coalition government around the ANC

Supporters of the populist MK party in the streets of Kwaximba, near Durban, June 2, 2024 © AFP – RAJESH JANTILAL

Hundreds of MK supporters celebrated their “victory” on Sunday, aboard a festive convoy around Kwaximba, a former ANC stronghold near Durban.

The ANC could form a coalition on its right, with the DA, or on its populist and radical left, with Zuma's MK or Julius Malema's EFF, two former figures of the The ANC having seceded.

The MK has made it known that it will not discuss with the ANC as long as Cyril Ramaphosa remains at its head. But Mr. Mbalula brushed aside this demand: “No party will dictate such terms to us.”

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