South Africa president faces up to poor poll result

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South Africa president faces up to poor poll result

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa has admitted his African National Congress (ANC) party has suffered a challenging election result, after

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South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has admitted his African National Congress (ANC) party has suffered a challenging election result, after the party lost its majority for the first time since apartheid ended 30 years ago.

The ANC, once led by Nelson Mandela, won 159 seats in the 400-seat parliament in Wednesday’s election, down from 230 in the previous assembly.

Mr Ramaphosa still described the results as a victory for democracy, calling on rival parties to find common ground – apparently preparing for coalition talks.

The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party has said it is open to coalition talks with Mr Ramaphosa, but it opposes a number of his government’s key priorities.

With all the votes counted, the ANC finished on 40% – down from 58% at the previous election, the electoral commission announced on Sunday.

This was lower than the party’s feared worst-case scenario of 45%, analysts said. The ANC now must go into a coalition to form the next government.

“Our people have spoken, whether we like it or not, they have spoken,” Mr Ramaphosa said.

“As the leaders of political parties, as all those who occupy positions of responsibility in society, we have heard the voices of our people and we must respect their wishes.”

He added that the voters wanted the parties to find common ground.

“Through their votes, they have demonstrated clearly and plainly that our democracy is strong and it is enduring,” he said.

South Africa’s political parties will be aiming to work out a coalition deal within two weeks, when the new parliament sits for the first time.

Source: BBC

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