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South Africa's ANC edging closer to forming unity government

World

28 days ago
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South Africa's governing African National Congress (ANC) says it has made progress in efforts to establish a government of national unity after losing its outright majority in recent elections.

But the party’s secretary general Fikile Mbalula said the party is not ready yet to announce the details of an agreement.

The ANC lost its parliamentary majority for the first time in 30 years in the 29 May election, getting 40% of the vote.

This means it required the backing of other parties for President Cyril Ramaphosa to remain in power.

The new parliament is meeting for the first time on Friday, when it is expected to vote for a president. Mr Ramaphosa is expected to retain his seat.

"We are talking to political parties as we speak right now," Mr Mbalula told reporters after a meeting of the party's top officials, adding he could not give further details.

He did say it would be a move to the political centre, because breakaway ANC parties on the left have said they will not join.

He said parties including the pro-business Democratic Alliance (DA) had agreed on forming a government of national unity.

But the ANC and DA have not agreed on how exactly they will cooperate, Mr Mbalula added.

"If the DA were to get some of these things that it wants it means the ANC will be dead," he said.

The DA came second in the election with 22% of the vote.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has previously accused the DA - which draws its support mainly from racial minorities - of being "treasonous" and "reactionary".

Any deal with the DA would be unpopular among many ANC activists.

The party is an advocate of free market economics, which is at odds with the ANC’s left-wing traditions, and has a reputation for representing the interests of the white minority.

source: BBC