Parliamentary elections in South Africa: ANC loses absolute majority

After parliamentary elections in South Africa, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) won only 159 out of 400 seats. Former president Zuma finished third with his new party.

South Africa’s ruling ANC party lost an absolute majority in parliamentary elections for the first time. The ANC won 159 out of 400 seats, as announced by the Electoral Commission on Sunday evening. The largest opposition party, the centre-right Democratic Alliance (DA), became the second strongest party with 87 seats. Former president Jacob Zuma’s newly founded MK party came in third, but he ignored the announcement of the election results.

The ANC under current President Cyril Ramaphosa is now likely to seek a coalition government. ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula had previously said the party wanted to open talks with other parties to form such a government. The ANC wants a government that “reflects the will of the people, is stable and can govern effectively”.

An ANC minority government would also be conceivable. In the coming weeks, in June, MPs will elect the next president of Africa’s second-largest industrial nation. Ramaphosa is seeking a second term. All polls predicted the ANC would lose its absolute majority. South African national hero Nelson Mandela’s party has been losing public trust for years.

Among other things, the continuing corruption scandals of the ANC’s leadership, high unemployment, a weak economy, high crime rates and constant power cuts led many South Africans to defect from the ruling party. Some 27.6 million registered voters were called to vote in the 400-member parliament in Cape Town in Wednesday’s parliamentary election. In 2019 the voter turnout was 58.6 per cent, less than 66 per cent. (APA/AFP)

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