South African Elections Could Signal Major Political Shift for ANC

South African Elections Could Signal Major Political Shift for ANC

South African Elections Could Signal Major Political Shift for ANC

South African Elections Could Signal Major Political Shift for ANC

Key Highlights:

  1. South Africa votes for provincial legislatures and national parliament.
  2. ANC may lose majority, requiring coalition partners for the first time.
  3. 70 parties, including DA and EFF, contesting for 400 National Assembly seats.

People in South Africa began voting on Wednesday in an election that could herald a significant political shift if the governing African National Congress (ANC) loses its majority, as opinion polls suggest, Al Jazeera reported. Voters are electing nine provincial legislatures and a new national parliament, which will then select the country’s president for the next five years. The election commission will announce the final results on Sunday.

The ANC, led by 66-year-old South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, will need to seek one or more coalition partners to govern if it garners less than 50 percent of the national vote. The ANC has won six consecutive national elections since 1994. A coalition government would mark the first time the ANC has had to share power since it was catapulted into power at the end of apartheid 30 years ago with Nelson Mandela at its helm.

The country’s largest opposition party is the center-right Democratic Alliance (DA), led by John Steenhuisen, formed by merging the Democratic Party and the New National Party. Other opposition parties include the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), led by former ANC youth leader Julius Malema, and a new party, uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), backed by former president Jacob Zuma.

A total of 70 parties and candidates are vying for 400 seats in the National Assembly under a proportional system. Parties on the national ballot will contest 200 of those seats, while the other 200 are divided among the nine regions and contested by parties and independent candidates.

In provincial legislatures, the number of seats is based on the population size of each of the nine provinces. For the first time, voters will receive three ballots instead of two. On each ballot, they will choose one party or one candidate. Two ballots will be used to elect the National Assembly, and the third one will be for the election of provincial legislature members in each province.

The ANC won 62.2 percent of the vote in the 2014 national election, securing 249 seats and a clear majority in the 400-seat parliament.

(Inputs from CNN)

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