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South Africa’s ANC says it won’t ditch Ramaphosa to form coalition

South Africa's ANC says it won't ditch Ramaphosa to form coalition

The African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa, once the dominant force in the nation’s politics, admitted on Sunday to being humbled by an election that ended its 30-year majority rule. Despite this setback, the ANC firmly stated that it would not remove President Cyril Ramaphosa as a condition for forming a governing coalition.

Official results from Wednesday’s election confirmed the decline of the ANC’s political dominance, initiating a race to form a coalition with opposition parties within two weeks before a new parliament convenes to elect a president. Despite the ANC’s reduced majority, the next president is expected to emerge from its ranks as it remains the largest party.

Discontent among voters over unemployment, inequality, and frequent power outages significantly reduced support for Nelson Mandela’s legacy party to 40%, down from 57.5% in the 2019 parliamentary elections. On Sunday evening, official results showed the ANC securing 159 seats in the 400-seat parliament, a steep drop from the 230 seats it held previously. During the ANC’s first post-election press briefing, Secretary General Fikile Mbalula acknowledged the party’s governance mistakes and stated, “We have nothing to celebrate.”

This outcome means the ANC will need to share power, likely with a major political rival, to maintain its governing status—an unprecedented situation since the end of apartheid in 1994. Mbalula emphasized that the ANC would not yield to demands from other parties for Ramaphosa’s resignation, declaring it “a no-go area.”

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the country’s largest trade union federation and a key ANC ally, also expressed support for Ramaphosa. COSATU spokesman Matthew Parks stressed the importance of an ANC-led coalition with Ramaphosa at the helm.

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