South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has been re-elected for a second term

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) – President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa He was re-elected by lawmakers to a second term on Friday, after his party reached a dramatic late-stage coalition deal with a former political rival just hours before the vote.

Ramaphosa is a leader African National CongressHe won convincingly in Parliament against a surprise candidate who was also nominated – Julius Malema of the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters party. Ramaphosa received 283 votes to Malema’s 44 in the 400-member council.

Ramaphosa, 71, secured his second term with the help of lawmakers from the country’s second-largest party, the Democratic Alliance, and some smaller parties. They supported him in the vote and managed to cross the finish line after the ANC lost its long-held majority in a historic election two weeks ago, reducing its number of seats to 159 seats in Parliament.

During a break in what turned out to be a marathon parliamentary session, the ANC signed a last-minute deal with the Democratic Alliance, effectively ensuring Ramaphosa’s survival as leader of Africa’s most industrialized economy. The parties will now participate in governing South Africa in its first national coalition, where no party has a majority in Parliament.

Transaction, which is referred to as A national unity governmentbrings the ANC together With the DA, a white-led party which was for years the main opposition and harshest critic of the ANC. At least two other small parties also joined the agreement.

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Ramaphos called the deal – which was sent South Africa into uncharted waters “A new birth, a new era for our country.” He said it was time for the parties to “overcome their differences and work together.”

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He said: “This is what we will do and this is what I am committed to achieving as president.”

The African National Congress – Nelson Mandela’s famous party – has ruled South Africa with a comfortable majority since the end of last year. Apartheid system of white minority rule In 1994.

But she lost Most of them are for 30 years In the modest national elections that took place on May 29, which marked a turning point for the country. The vote was conducted against a broad background Dissatisfaction with South Africa High levels of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

Analysts warn there could be complications ahead, despite the stark difference between the ideologies of the ANC, a former liberation movement, and the centrist, business-friendly Democratic Alliance, which won 21% of the vote in the national election, the second-largest share. After him. ANC 40%.

For example, the DA disagreed with the ANC government’s move to He accused Israel of committing genocide in Gaza In a very sensitive case before the United Nations Supreme Court.

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

He said after stepping away from Friday’s proceedings to deliver a live televised speech in which he said an agreement had been signed and that DA lawmakers would vote for Ramaphosa for president.

Parliament began at 10am in the unusual setting of a conference center near Cape Town’s waterfront, just past the historic city. The fire destroyed the National Assembly building In 2022. The Assembly held for the first time an hours-long swearing-in of hundreds of new legislators and the election of a president and vice president.

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Voting for the president began late into the night, with results announced after 10pm, and Ramaphosa finished his acceptance speech as the clock ticked past midnight into Saturday.

The Knesset Party, led by former President Jacob Zuma, boycotted the session, but this did not affect the vote, as a quorum is only required by a third of the council members.

ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula said the party was open to talking to anyone else who wanted to join the unity government. There are 18 political parties represented in Parliament, and he said that the multi-party agreement “will give priority to the country across the political and ideological divide.”

Some parties, including Malema’s, refused to join.

The other two parties that joined the coalition agreement are: Inkatha Freedom Party and the National Alliance, which attracted attention in part because its leader, Guyton MacKenzie, served a prison sentence for bank robbery.

McKenzie said he had been given a second chance at life, and that South Africa had one now too, a chance to solve its deep social and economic problems.

The ANC had faced a deadline for Reaching a coalition agreement Parliament had to vote for the president within 14 days after the election results were announced on June 2. The ANC has been trying to reach a coalition agreement for two weeks Final negotiations continued overnight From Thursday to Friday, party officials said.

South Africa did not face This level of political uncertainty Since the ANC came to power in 1994 The first elections for all races are over Nearly half a century of apartheid. Since then, every leader of South Africa has been from the ANC. Starting with Mandela.

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The new unity government also returned to the way Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, invited political opponents to be part of a unity government in 1994 in a reconciliation process when the ANC had a majority. Ramaphosa played a key role in those negotiations as a young politician.

This time, the ANC’s hand was forced.

“The ANC have been very generous in accepting defeat and saying: ‘Let’s talk,’” PA leader McKenzie said.


Magome reported from Johannesburg.


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