South African President Cyril Ramaphosa faces a poor ANC election result

Video explanation, “The results reflect the will of the people,” says President Ramaphosa.

  • author, Lou Newton
  • Role, BBC News
  • Report from London

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa admitted that his African National Congress party suffered a difficult election result, after the party lost its majority for the first time since the end of apartheid 30 years ago.

The African National Congress, which was led by Nelson Mandela, won 159 seats in the 400-seat parliament in Wednesday’s elections, down from 230 seats in the previous assembly.

Ramaphosa still describes the results as a victory for democracy, calling on the rival parties to find common ground and apparently prepare for coalition talks.

The opposition Democratic Alliance party said it was open to coalition talks with Ramaphosa, but opposed a number of his government’s key priorities.

The Electoral Commission announced on Sunday that after all the votes were counted, the ANC received 40%, down from 58% in the previous election.

Analysts said that this is less than the worst-case scenario, which the party fears could reach 45%. The ANC must now form a coalition to form the next government.

“Our people have spoken, whether we like it or not, they have spoken,” Ramaphosa said.

“As leaders of political parties, and as all those who hold positions of responsibility in society, we have heard the voices of our people and we must respect their wishes.”

He added that voters want the parties to find common ground.

“Through their votes, they clearly and clearly demonstrated that our democracy is strong and enduring,” he said.

Political parties in South Africa have two weeks to reach a coalition agreement, then the new parliament will convene to choose a president.

The center-right Democratic Alliance party is still the second largest party in parliament, with 87 seats, and has said it is open to coalition talks.

“We urge all others who love our Constitution and everything it stands for to put aside petty politics and narrow sectarian interests and come together now,” Democratic Party Leader John Steenhausen said.

However, his party opposes two of the ANC’s main priorities – black empowerment policies, which aim to give blacks a share in the economy after being excluded during the apartheid era, and the National Health Insurance Bill, which promises to include everyone. Health care for all.

The ANC said the two policies were non-negotiable in coalition talks.

Former president Jacob Zuma, who now leads the Umkhonto Visizwe (MK) party, which came in third place with 58 seats, did not attend the announcement of the results and suggested he might challenge them.

The MK said he would be willing to work with the ANC, but not while under Mr Ramaphosa’s leadership.

He replaced Zuma as president and leader of the ANC after a bitter power struggle in 2018.

In an interview with the BBC, Patrick Gaspard, who was US ambassador to South Africa from 2013-2016, described the two politicians as “sworn enemies.”

Earlier on Sunday, Zuma called for a rerun of the election and said the electoral commission should not announce the final results.

On Saturday, he warned the commission that it would “provoke us” if it ignored his demand to hold new elections and conduct an independent investigation into his party’s allegations of fraud.

“Problems don’t start when there’s no problem,” he said.

There are now concerns about how Zuma’s supporters will respond to the results.

The 82-year-old has been the runaway political figure in this election – and is poised to flex his muscles as a kingmaker in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal, where the MK battled a significant chunk of the vote from the ANC.

The results, which were drawn up just a few months ago, show that it received the largest share of the vote in the province in the national election, 44% to the ANC’s 19%.

Local issues could have been a big factor in this shift, as some community members turned their backs on the ANC because it failed to fix severe water shortages.

Parts of the province, such as Trenance Park, just a 20-minute drive from the main city of Durban, have not had tap water for 10 months.

Residents depend on water tankers, which sometimes do not deliver water on time.

People in KwaZulu-Natal hope that the elections will end now and that the problem will be resolved once and for all.

Earlier, the South African police chief warned that threats aimed at destabilizing the country will not be tolerated.

“There cannot be any room for threats of instability in order to register objections or concerns about the electoral processes,” Police Minister Bheki Cele said at a press conference.

The ANC has always polled above 50% since the country’s first democratic elections in 1994, which saw Nelson Mandela take office.

But support for the party has declined dramatically due to anger over rising levels of corruption, unemployment and crime.

Gaspard said: “There are tens of millions of young people in this country who are called the born-free generation, who were born after 1994 after the end of apartheid, and they feel that their country has undergone a political transformation, but not an economic one.” BBC.

He added that in 2015 “it became quite clear that there was a downward trajectory for the ANC as it failed to deliver basic services in the country,” specifically pointing to the ongoing power outages.

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