The African National Congress has won South Africa’s general election held on Wednesday last week, retaining 230 seats in the 400-member parliament, the Independent Electoral Commission said on Saturday.
ANC secured 57.5% of the vote while the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), garnered 20.8% and the leftist Economic Freedom Fighters took 10.8%.
“The ANC’s seats in the 400-member parliament fell to 230 from 249. The main opposition Democratic Alliance also saw its number of seats fall to 84 from 89, while the leftist Economic Freedom Fighters gained 19 seats to 44. South Africa uses a system of proportional representation,” Reuters said.
Newspapers pointed out that ANC’s share of the vote fell probably because of anger at corruption scandals and racial inequalities that remain entrenched a generation after the party took power.
“It was the worst electoral performance by the late Nelson Mandela’s former liberation movement, which has governed South Africa since the country’s first free election marked the end of white minority rule in 1994,” Reuters pointed out, adding that “the ANC had not previously won less than 60% of the vote in a national poll”.
However, the ANC’s victory secured it enough seats in parliament to give President Cyril Ramaphosa another five-year term in office, although it may also leave him short of ammunition to battle party rivals who oppose his reforms to galvanise the economy and counter graft.
“Let us now work together, black and white, men and women, young and old to build a South Africa that truly belongs to all that live in it,” he said in a speech after his party was declared the winner.
In 2014, the ANC won 62% of votes, the DA 22% and the EFF 6%.
But the turnout for Wednesday’s vote was lower than at the last election in 2014, falling to 66% from 73.5%, the electoral commission said.