South Africa's Ramaphosa Re-Elected After Coalition Deal

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) AFP

Cape Town: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was re-elected for a second term after his humbled ANC cobbled together an unprecedented coalition government.

Lawmakers in Cape Town voted overwhelmingly on Friday to put Ramaphosa, 71, back in office for another five years after the May 29 general election produced no outright winner.

"I am humbled and honoured that you, as members of the National Assembly, have... decided to elect me to be the President of the Republic of South Africa," Ramaphosa said in his acceptance speech.

The election marked a historic turning point for South Africa, ending three decades of dominance by the African National Congress of the late Nelson Mandela.

The party that led the anti-apartheid struggle won only 40 percent of the vote and, for the first time, lost its absolute majority in parliament.

It has now struck a deal to form what it calls a government of national unity.

"This is a historic juncture in the life of our country, which requires that we must work and act together," Ramaphosa said.

ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalula said on Friday the broad coalition brings together a majority of the 18 parties that won representation in the 400-seat National Assembly.

These include the centre-right Democratic Alliance (DA), the Zulu nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party and other smaller groups.

Ramaphosa was re-elected by fellow MPs with 283 votes in a secret ballot.

He saw off a last-minute challenge by Julius Malema, the firebrand leader of the radical leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), whose candidacy gained 44 votes.

Ramaphosa will be sworn in next week in Pretoria and then unveil his new cabinet.

South Africa's BRICS allies Russia and China on Saturday welcomed Ramaphosa's re-election with President Xi Jinping sending him a congratulatory note and Russian President Vladimir Putin saying: "We highly appreciate your personal contribution to the development of strategic partnership between our countries, as well as productive Russian-South African cooperation within the UN, BRICS, the G20 and other multilateral organisations".

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also congratulated Ramaphosa, hailing South Africa's "joint efforts to restore just peace in Ukraine."


The Peninsula

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