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ANC Engages in Discussions with Five Parties for Potential Coalition

ANC Engages in Discussions with Five Parties for Potential Coalition

South Africa’s ANC Engages in Preliminary Talks with Five Parties for Coalition or Government Agreement

Top officials of South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) have initiated discussions with representatives from five other parties regarding the possibility of forming a coalition or reaching a government agreement. However, as of Wednesday, no decision has been reached, stated the ANC.

Following an election last week where the long-standing ANC lost its 30-year majority, South Africa found itself in a political deadlock. While no party managed to surpass the ANC, it remained the largest party.

ANC spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri informed reporters that initial “exploratory” talks have taken place with the main opposition Democratic Alliance, the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters, and three other smaller parties. Bhengu-Motsiri also mentioned the ANC’s attempts to engage with the new MK Party of former President Jacob Zuma, but so far, there has been no positive response.

The ANC characterizes these discussions with other parties as an effort to establish a government of “national unity,” emphasizing that a formal coalition is not the sole option. They are open to including multiple parties in the agreement, not just those capable of forming a majority based on combined votes. Bhengu-Motsiri even suggested that the ANC might consider assuming the role of the opposition if it’s deemed beneficial for the nation.

With Parliament set to convene by June 16 for the presidential election, including the possibility of Cyril Ramaphosa seeking a second term, some form of agreement must be in place.

“We have been meeting with all parties that are keen to contribute ideas on how we can collectively move our country forward to form a government that ensures national unity and stability,” said Bhengu-Motsiri.

The ANC secured only 159 of the 400 parliamentary seats in its worst-ever electoral performance. Following them are the Democratic Alliance with 87 seats, the uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MK Party) with 58 seats, the leftist Economic Freedom Fighters with 39 seats, and the Inkatha Freedom Party with 17 seats.

Analysts caution that the ANC risks alienating its core traditional base by forming a coalition with the three main opposition parties. Moreover, tensions are expected, especially in talks between the ANC and the MK Party, given their origins from within the ANC.

Cosatu spokesman Matthew Parks emphasized the need for a coalition led by the ANC and President Ramaphosa to be progressive and prioritize the needs of working-class communities, among other goals.

Meanwhile, former Defence Minister Siphiwe Nyanda, a senior ANC member, publicly warned against a coalition with Zuma’s MK Party, citing concerns over the party’s potential to undermine the ANC’s integrity.

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