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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa re-elected after dramatic late coalition deal

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was re-elected by lawmakers for a second term on June 14 after his party struck a dramatic coalition deal with former political rivals hours before the vote.

African National Congress leader Ramaphosa convincingly defeated a fellow candidate, Julius Malema of the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters, in parliament. In the 400-member House of Representatives, Mr Ramaphosa received 283 votes to Malema’s 44 votes.

Ramaphosa, 71, won a second term with the help of the country’s second-largest party, the Democratic Alliance, and some lawmakers from smaller parties. They backed him at the polls and helped him cross the finish line after the ANC lost its long-held majority in a landmark election two weeks ago and reduced its seat in parliament to 159 seats. Wire.

The ANC and DA signed a last-minute deal during a marathon parliamentary recess, effectively ensuring Mr Ramaphosa remains at the helm of Africa’s most industrialized economy. The two parties will now govern South Africa together in the first national coalition, in which no party has a majority in parliament.

The deal, known as a government of national unity, unites the ANC with the Democratic Alliance, a white-led party that has been the ANC’s main opposition and fiercest critic for years. At least two other smaller parties also joined the deal.

Ramaphos called the agreement “a new life, a new era for our country” that takes South Africa into uncharted territory and said it was time for all parties to “overcome their differences and work together.”

“That’s what we’re going to do and that’s what I’m committed to as president,” he said.

The African National Congress – Nelson Mandela’s famed party – has ruled South Africa with a majority since the end of apartheid, a system of white-minority rule, in 1994.

But a turning point for the country came when it lost its 30-year majority in a humiliating national election on May 29. The vote comes amid widespread dissatisfaction with high levels of poverty, inequality and unemployment in South Africa.

However, analysts warn there could be complications ahead given that the former liberation movement the African National Congress and the centrist, pro-business DA won 21% of the vote in the national election, the second-highest share of the vote. Accounting for 40%.

First, the DA disagrees with the ANC government’s move to accuse Israel of committing genocide in Gaza in a highly sensitive case before the United Nations Supreme Court.

DA leader John Steenhuisen was the first to confirm the agreement.

“Starting today, the DA will govern the Republic of South Africa together in a spirit of unity and cooperation,” he said in a televised speech leaving Friday’s proceedings, in which he said an agreement had been signed , and DA MPs will vote to elect Mr Ramaphosa as president.

Cape Town’s historic National Assembly building was gutted in a fire in 2022, and the parliamentary session began at 10am in unusual surroundings at a conference center near Cape Town’s waterfront. A several-hour swearing-in ceremony was held in Cape Town.

Presidential voting began late at night, shortly after Mr Ramaphosa finished his acceptance speech at 10pm, and it was past midnight and the election results were announced on June 15.

Former President Jacob Zuma’s MK party boycotted the meeting, but this did not affect the vote because only one-third of the House is needed for a quorum.

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula said the party was open to dialogue with anyone who wanted to join the coalition government. There are 18 parties in parliament and he said the multi-party agreement would “cut across political and ideological divides and prioritize the country”.

Some parties, including Mr Malema’s Electronic Freedom Fighters, refused to join.

The other two parties to join the coalition agreement are the Inkatha Freedom Party and the Patriotic Alliance, which attracted attention in part because its leader Guyton McKenzie was jailed for bank robbery.

Mr McKenzie said he had been given a second chance in life and that South Africa now had a chance to address its deep socio-economic problems.

The ANC faces a deadline to reach a coalition deal, as parliament must vote for a president within 14 days of election results being announced on June 2. Continuing party officials said overnight on June 13th and 14th.

South Africa has not faced this level of political uncertainty since the African National Congress came to power in 1994, the first all-race election, ending nearly half a century of apartheid. Since then, starting with Mandela, every South African leader has come from the ANC.

The new coalition government also recalls the practice in 1994 when Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, invited political opponents to join a coalition government in which the African National Congress had a majority, as an act of reconciliation. As a young politician, Ramaphosa played a key role in these negotiations.

This time, the ANC’s action was forced.

“The ANC was very magnanimous and they accepted defeat and said ‘let’s talk about it’,” Mr McKenzie, the Palestinian Authority leader, said.



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