South Africa election: ANC loses 30-year majority, focus shifts to coalition options

The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance came second

South Africa election results A member of the new political party, uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) reacts at the Western Cape Independent Electoral Commission Results Operating Centre, in Cape Town, South Africa | Reuters

As suspected, the African National Congress (ANC) party lost its parliamentary majority in a historic election result. This is a major blow to the ANC party, which enjoyed the parliamentary majority for about 30 years. 

With nearly 99 per cent of votes counted, ANC had received just over 40 per cent in the election on Wednesday. However, the final results are still to be formally declared by the electoral commission.

With the country reeling under deep poverty, unemployment and inequality, the opposition parties hailed the historic breakthrough. ANC will now have to form a coalition with smaller opposition parties to form the government and reelect Cyril Ramaphosa for a second and final term. Busy negotiations have already started among parties to form the government.

The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance received around 21%. The new MK Party of former President Jacob Zuma, who was once part of ANC, came third with just over 14% of the vote in the first election it has contested. 

With the Parliament required to elect a president within 14 days of the final election results, all eyes are on the ANC as to which parties they might approach to co-govern.

The MK Party had made it clear that they were willing to negotiate with the ANC but not with Ramaphosa at the helm. “We are willing to negotiate with the ANC, but not the ANC of Cyril Ramaphosa,” MK Party spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndlela said.

With the low percentage, ANC will need to approach more than two opposition parties to form the government. 

MK and the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters have called for parts of the economy to be nationalised. The centrist Democratic Alliance is viewed as a business-friendly party and analysts say an ANC-DA coalition would be more welcomed by foreign investors.

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