South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party won Wednesday’s general elections with absolute majority in parliament but with less support, results released by the electoral commission showed.
ANC secured 57.73% when 95% of votes were counted on Friday.
ANC’s closest rival, the Democratic Alliance, was trailing with just 20.65% of the vote.
The Economic Freedom Fighters, founded six years ago by former ANC youth leader Julius Malema, came third with 10.51% of the vote.
This is the worst showing by ANC in elections after apartheid ended in 1994. The results indicate the party has been given a chance to prove its worth.
The official results will be announced by Saturday afternoon.
The new government will face tough challenges in reviving the economy and curbing corruption.
The new president will be sworn in on May 25 by the party with most representatives.
ANC lost ground under former president Jacob Zuma as the country’s economic growth fell and he faced a string of corruption scandals.
Zuma resigned after causing embarrassment to his party by defying its order to step down. He was replaced by 66-year-old Cyril Ramaphosa, above, last year.
President Ramaphosa could not implement reforms because of strong opposition from party leaders and officials still loyal to Zuma.
As unemployment grew, youth voted for change.
As many as 48 parties contested the polls and most of them wanted to defeat ANC. Had Zuma continued in power, late Nelson Mandela’s party would have been defeated in the elections.
Voters’ apathy came to ANC’s rescue as the turnout was only 65.6 per cent. Opposition parties failed to galvanise voters against ANC. In the end, ANC won despite the anti-incumbency wave.