Friday 14 June 2024


For the first time in 30 years, South African lawmakers will elect a president on Friday with the outcome not a mere formality.

Cyril Ramaphosa is seeking a second term as leader of Africa’s most industrialized economy but his African National Congress party has been weakened after losing its long-held majority in an election last month and he will need the support of other parties if he is to return as president.

The ANC is hoping that a general coalition agreement with others — particularly the main opposition Democratic Alliance — will hold and they will back Ramaphosa’s reelection. The ANC needs lawmakers from parties that were once its main political foes to now vote for Ramaphosa and continue the ANC’s three-decade hold on the presidency.

The ANC announced late Thursday night that it had a coalition agreement in principle with the DA and other smaller parties, but ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula said the final details of the agreement were still being worked out. Crucially, he did not say there was an agreement among those coalition partners for their lawmakers to vote for Ramaphosa in Parliament, even if he said that’s what the ANC hoped would happen.

The DA, the second largest party in Parliament behind the ANC and which has a potentially decisive number of lawmakers, said talks on the exact details had continued through the night and into early Friday and there was no signed agreement just hours before Parliament was due to convene at 10 a.m. local time.


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