Political Deadlock Persists in South Africa As Parliament Convenes to Elect President

South Africa’s parliament will convene on Friday to elect the new president of the country, according to an order issued by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Once the parliament is convened, the house will elect the speaker and then the process to elect the president will start. The announcement has come even as the election threw up a hung mandate and no ruling coalition has yet emerged.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has called for a national unity government, but no ruling arrangement has yet been firmed up and South Africa remains stuck in a political deadlock. In the last month’s elections, for the first time since the apartheid era ended in South Africa in 1994, the ANC lost the parliamentary majority.

The ANC won just 40 per cent of the vote in the last month’s elections — the party’s lowest ever. In the 400-member National Assembly (NA), the ANC won just 159 seats — way short of the majority-mark of 201. The ANC was followed by Democratic Alliance (DA) party with 87 seats, the MK party with 58 seats, and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party with 39 seats.

The ANC has indicated that it forms to form a national unity government in which all the parties have representation, according to the AFP. The far-left party EFF dismissed such a proposal where it would have to join hands with liberal party DA, as per the agency. While DA is a believer in free markets, the EEF and MK support the nationalisation of mines and banks. They also call for land redistribution in the country.

Moreover, the MK has rejected the election results and vowed to approach the courts regarding alleged election irregularities. The agency further reported that talks continued over the weekend and top leaders of some parties, including the DA, were holding internal discussions to decide the way forward.

President Cyril Ramaphosa of ANC has urged “all parties to work together to sustain the momentum of reform, growth and transformation”. “A stable and effective government committed to economic reform will enable us to build an inclusive and growing economy that benefits all South Africans,” said Ramphosa in his newspaper.

The MK has said that it would not join hands with the ANC if Ramphosa remained at the helm, as per the agency. As for the potential alliance with the DA, the left-wing of the ANC sees the potential coalitions as being at odds with the ANC as DA is a free-market party. The problem with joining hands with the EFF would be that it would still require a third party as EFF and ANC’s combined numbers will not cross the majority-mark of 201.

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