Mandela’s party loses its absolute majority for the first time in thirty years

Johannesburg, June 1 (EFE). – The African National Congress, the historic party with which Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first black president in 1994 and has ruled the country ever since, won Wednesday’s elections but lost its absolute right to vote. Majority for the first time in thirty years, since the end of apartheid.

With 99.91% of the votes counted, the ANC fell to 40.2%, more than 17 points lower than in the previous 2019 election, according to the interim results of the Independent Electoral Commission, and thus its leader and president in South Africa, Cyril. Ramaphosa will have to agree with other parties to run for a second five-year term.

This is the first time that the ANC has not achieved an absolute majority since the first multiracial elections in South Africa after the end of apartheid and the establishment of democracy in 1994.

Although results have worsened since 2004 in election after election for the ANC, which is going through its lowest hours, in the 2019 general election it managed to retain a comfortable majority of 57.5%.

In second place comes the Democratic Alliance (liberal centre-right), led by John Steenhausen, with 21.7% of the votes, which improves on the result of 2019, when it obtained 20.77%.

The Christian Democratic Party is the main opposition party, the heir to the white political leadership that opposed apartheid and has traditionally been associated with the white minority vote, which represents 7.7% of the South African population.

The biggest surprise came from the “uMkhonto weSizwe” party (MK Party), the new formation of former President Jacob Zuma (2009-2018), which ran in its first general election with a vote of 14.6% and came in third place from the “Luchadores” party for the “Economic Freedom” party. “For Julius Malema (EFF), which emerged before the elections as the third force in the country, fell to fourth place with 9.5%.

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The Constitutional Court banned Zuma – who in 2021 was sentenced to fifteen months in prison for contempt – from attending these elections midway through the campaign, but the controversy does not appear to have diminished support for his party.

The emergence of MK has greatly influenced the division of votes in the ANC, which has also been punctuated by instances of corruption such as that of Zuma himself and has been exhausted by problems affecting the country, such as high rates of unemployment, crime or power outages.

Nearly 28 million South African citizens were called to the polls last Wednesday.

The Independent Electoral Commission estimates the provisional turnout rate at 58.61%, down from 66% in 2019 despite palpable enthusiasm among the population.

South Africans vote between seventy parties and eleven independent candidates for the four hundred members of the National Assembly (the lower house of parliament), which in turn must choose the president. They also chose the authorities of the country’s nine provinces.

The Independent Electoral Commission received 579 allegations and recounted the votes in at least 24 polling centers in various electoral districts, which delays the counting process, which has been practically paralyzed since Saturday afternoon and has not yet reached 100% of the votes counted.

Some of these complaints are challenges from political parties such as the MK and the Foreign Front, others come from citizens themselves and can range from statements claiming that their votes were not properly reflected to questions about the parliamentary seat allocation process.

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“The commission will be ready to announce the election results tomorrow,” said Independent Electoral Commission Chairman Mosutu Mubya late on Saturday, stressing that the results of the 23,292 polling stations will be reviewed.

For his part, Zuma criticized the “rush” in announcing the results, and urged the Independent Electoral Commission not to rush, after he announced that his organization had raised “very serious” objections.

Although the Electoral Commission has seven days to announce the official results – until next Wednesday -, it will announce them at 6:00 pm local time (4:00 pm GMT) on Sunday, after four days of counting the votes. A ceremony at the National Results Center Efi.

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