SOUTH AFRICA: ANC Asserts Ramaphosa Will Remain Leader Amidst Coalition Talks Following Historic Election Setback

In the wake of a historic election setback that ended its 30-year majority, South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), has firmly stated that President Cyril Ramaphosa will not step down during coalition negotiations. This declaration comes as the nation embarks on its first-ever series of complex talks to form a national coalition government and establish political stability.

Speaking on Sunday, ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula emphasized that Ramaphosa’s position as party leader is non-negotiable. “President Ramaphosa is the president of the ANC,” Mbalula asserted in the ANC leadership’s first public address since the election results. “If you come to us with the demand that Ramaphosa must step down as president, that is not going to happen.”

Despite the ANC receiving just over 40% of the vote, falling short of the majority it has maintained throughout South Africa’s young democracy, the party remains the largest in Parliament. Consequently, the ANC is now in a position where it must engage with other political parties to form a government and re-elect Ramaphosa for a second and final term.

The president of South Africa is elected by Parliament following national elections. Mbalula assured that the ANC is open to discussions with all political parties to form a stable government that reflects the will of the people. “The results sent a clear message to the ANC,” Mbalula said. “We wish to assure the people of South Africa that we have heard them.”

The election also saw a surprising performance from the new MK Party, founded by former President Jacob Zuma, which secured 14% of the vote, making it the third-largest party in Parliament. The MK Party has stipulated that Ramaphosa must step down as leader of the ANC and the country for it to enter any coalition talks with the ANC.

Nonetheless, the ANC has numerous options for coalition partners among South Africa’s other political parties. This includes the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, which garnered 21% of the votes. As the ANC navigates these coalition talks, it remains committed to forming a government that upholds the democratic will and ensures stability for South Africa’s future.

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