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Cyril Ramaphosa Returns As South Africa's President For 2nd Term, Nation To Get Its First Coalition Govt

The newly elected South African president is likely to announce his cabinet after the inaugural ceremony on Wednesday, next week.

AP
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. Photo: AP
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The South African Parliament has elected Cyril Ramaphosa for another five-year term as President despite his party -- African National Congress (ANC) -- having won only 40 percent of the ballot in the general elections.

Ramaphosa's election after he contested against Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema brought the Parliament sitting to an end. Meanwhile, ANC's Thoko Didiza was elected as Speaker and DA's Annelie Lotriet as Deputy Speaker.

The newly elected South African president is likely to announce his cabinet after the inaugural ceremony on Wednesday, next week.

The decision to elect Ramaphosa came after long voting processes and frequent interruptions amid last-minute inter-party discussions to establish a government of national unity (GNU).

The ANC had its alliance with the mostly-white Democratic Alliance (DA), and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), which came fifth, and the minority party Patriotic Front (PF).

While some welcomed this alliance as a new era in the politics of South Africa, which would send a stern message of boosting and improving the ailing economy.

However, others condemned ANC for partnering up with DA, which had been the official opposition and stood against many several ANC policies since the latter first came to power under Nelson Mandela in 1994.

“We were voted for by six million people who want us to continue the transformational agenda to changing the lives of the people for the better,” ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalula told the press.

“We are in no position to govern this country alone. We need to work with others,” Mbalula said.

DA leader John Steenhuisen said that the negotiations chart a new course of era for the South African nation, adding that "At the heart of this statement is a shared respect in defense of our Constitution and the rule of law, including the Bill of Rights, in its entirety."

Meanwhile IFP spokesperson Inkosi Mzamo Buthelezi said the party had agreed to vote for the candidates proposed by the ANC, saying "As leaders, people of this country entrusted us and it is up to the 400-member who are in the house to decide as to how they take the country forward."

EEF deputy President, Floyd Shivambu, said that the DA had risen from the colonial apartheid era and was only interested in "protection of white minority interest and privileges".

Some minority parties refused to join the GNU, but with just a few seats in the Parliament, their votes were considered to be negligible in the final count.

Notably, the 71-year-old Ramaphosa secured a second term after the ANC lost its 30-year parliamentary majority in a landmark election that was held two weeks ago.

This will be the first national coalition in South Africa, where no party has a majority.

(With AP inputs)

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