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South Africa’s president faces the worst elections ever for his party. He will probably still get re-elected

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is facing the prospect of his ruling party’s worst-ever election result. Yet he is still likely to be re-elected as leader of Africa’s most advanced country after Wednesday’s national vote.

Although several opinion polls show support for his African National Congress at less than 50% ahead of the elections, putting the country at risk of losing its majority for the first time in South Africa’s thirty years of democracy, it is still widely expected ANC will win most parliamentary elections. seats. The growing opposition to the ANC is divided among various parties.

That will likely mean Ramaphosa stays for a second and final five-year term, although that may not be easy. Parliament decides who is president and the ANC may not have a majority of lawmakers. Moreover, a sharp drop in votes for the ANC would put pressure on Ramaphosa within the party’s ranks. The ANC has a history of withdrawing support from its party leader in times of trouble, resulting in the party resigning as president.

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Here’s a look at 71-year-old Ramaphosa and his future.


Ramaphosa was seen as a protégé of Nelson Mandela, who led the ANC to victory in the momentous 1994 elections that ended the apartheid system of white minority rule and established South Africa as a democracy. Ramaphosa lost the internal ANC battle to succeed Mandela as president when the aging anti-apartheid icon resigned after one term in 1999 – even though Mandela was thought to have favored Ramaphosa.

Instead, Ramaphosa left politics to become one of South Africa’s richest businessmen.


Ramaphosa returned to politics by being elected vice-president of the ANC in 2012. He was appointed vice president of the country in 2014 under former president Jacob Zuma. Using the same internal party apparatus that previously overlooked him, he won the leadership of the ANC in 2017. Zuma resigned as South Africa’s president two months later under a cloud of corruption allegations and Ramaphosa took over. He was elected for his first real term in 2019.

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He promised to end the corruption that plagued the ANC during the Zuma government and boost the struggling economy and failing government services, although that was not easy. South Africa still has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, and nationwide electricity outages in 2022 and 2023 due to mismanagement at the state-owned utility have severely damaged Ramaphosa’s reputation.


Lawmakers in parliament decide South Africa’s president, and this election could bring something new to that process. South Africans vote for parties in national elections and those parties send lawmakers to the 400-member parliament depending on their share of the vote. Lawmakers then choose the president.

Every South African president since 1994 has been a member of the ANC by virtue of its parliamentary majority, but if it falls below 50% in this election, another party or parties would be needed to join the vote to reach the required numbers in parliament. to re-elect Ramapohosa.


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There are three possible scenarios for Ramaphosa:

If the ANC retains its majority against expectations, he will likely be re-elected by his party’s lawmakers without any problems. The ANC won 57.5% of the vote in the last national election in 2019, leading to Ramaphosa’s first term.

If the ANC falls just below 50%, it could seek a coalition with several smaller parties to gain the necessary votes in parliament for Ramaphosa to remain president.

If the ANC’s share is well below 50% and closer to 40%, things become more complicated. The ANC may have to approach one of the larger opposition parties for a coalition, and that would involve much more bickering. A significant drop in support would also undermine Ramaphosa’s authority within the ANC.

It is notable that no South African president has served a full term in office since 1994. Mandela resigned to hand over the reins, and Thabo Mbeki and Zuma both resigned before their final terms expired due to a loss of support within the ANC.


AP Africa News: https://apnews.com/hub/africa

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