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South Africa: After election: massive loss of power for Mandela’s party

South Africa: After election: massive loss of power for Mandela’s party

South Africa’s ruling party, the ANC, is on the verge of losing its absolute majority for the first time. The country is at a political turning point.

In South Africa, a coalition government is emerging for the first time in the country’s history after the parliamentary elections. After 80 percent of the votes had been counted, the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), received 41.37 percent, the National Electoral Commission (IEC) announced. The preliminary partial result indicates a massive loss of power. In the 2019 parliamentary elections, the ruling party received 57.5 percent of the votes.

If the former party of anti-apartheid fighter Nelson Mandela falls below the 50 percent mark, as is now considered likely, it will have to form a coalition. In the past 30 years, since the beginning of democracy in 1994, the ANC has always won an absolute majority and ruled the continent’s strongest economy alone.

According to the preliminary partial results, the economically liberal Democratic Alliance (DA) received 22.16 percent, while the party founded just six months ago by former President Jacob Zuma, uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), received 13.06 percent. The Marxist-influenced party Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) followed closely behind with 9.41 percent.

ANC likely to lose majority in key provinces

According to the preliminary partial results, the ANC will also lose its absolute majority in the country’s economically strongest province, Gauteng, where the capital Pretoria and the economic metropolis Johannesburg are located. The ANC is also likely to fall below 50 percent in KwaZulu-Natal, Zuma’s home province. The second economically strongest province, the Western Cape, where Cape Town is located, has been led by the DA for years, which, according to preliminary figures, is likely to retain its absolute majority there.

Members of 52 parties competed for the 400 seats in the national parliament on May 29. After the results are announced, the newly elected parliament must form a government and elect a president within 14 days. Provincial governments were also newly elected.

Reasons for the ANC’s historic loss of power

The reason for the now expected historic loss of power of the ANC in the country with 61 million inhabitants at the southern tip of Africa is a weak government record: an ailing economy, mass unemployment, ailing state-owned companies, regular power cuts and high crime and corruption.

The elections are also relevant for Germany and Europe. South Africa is politically and economically considered the “gateway to Africa”, a country with access to a continent that is becoming increasingly important internationally due to its raw material reserves needed for the energy transition. Although South Africa has good relations with Western countries, the government is closely linked to Russia and China. In the Gaza war, South Africa takes a strong pro-Palestinian stance. It has filed a lawsuit against Israel before the International Court of Justice for genocide in the Gaza Strip.

Source: Stern

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