The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has won South Africa’s parliamentary elections with 57.5 percent of the vote, the electoral commission said while announcing the official results.
Saturday’s win assured a sixth straight term in power for the ANC. But the result was the worst-ever electoral showing for the party, which has ruled South Africa since the end of apartheid 25 years ago.
Support for the ANC, which gained 62 percent in the previous election in 2014, has steadily declined since it took a record 69 percent of the vote in 2004. Saturday’s electoral showing comes amid growing voter frustration over rampant corruption and high rates of unemployment.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, who replaced scandal-plagued Jacob Zuma last year, now faces the challenge of regaining public confidence in a party that remains beset with internal divisions and which oversaw a raft of economic crises in the country.
The result, which gives the ANC 230 seats in the 400-member parliament, will renew pressure on Ramaphosa to decisively deal with cabinet ministers accused of corruption.
In a victory speech in the northern city of Pretoria, Ramaphosa said the election confirmed “freedom and democracy reign” in South Africa.
“Our people have given all of the leaders of our country a firm mandate to build a better South Africa for all.”
Earlier in the day, Jessie Duarte, ANC deputy secretary-general, struck a more sombre tone, saying the party would move swiftly to counter corruption and increase economic growth.
“We need to correct our mistakes,” she said, adding that the election showed voters want an “ANC that is united, and in its unity remains true to the values and principles on which it was founded.” – Al Jazeera.