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South Africa's Ruling Party Suffering Biggest Electoral Blow

Friday, 05 August 2016 07:29 AM

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — With 95 percent of votes counted Friday in municipal elections, South Africa's ruling party appeared to have suffered its biggest electoral blow since it won power at the end of the apartheid era 22 years ago.

The results remained too close to call in the country's largest city, Johannesburg, and the Tshwane metropolitan area around the capital, Pretoria. The opposition Democratic Alliance was challenging the African National Congress in both municipalities. Neither party appeared headed for a majority in those two cities that would allow it to govern alone, raising the possibility of coalition governments.

The ANC has lost a key municipality named after its star, Nelson Mandela Bay, to the Democratic Alliance. The DA already runs the city of Cape Town, the only major South African city where blacks are not in the majority, and has been pushing hard to win supporters in other regions.

The ANC, formerly the main anti-apartheid movement, has lost some support from people who say their hopes for economic opportunities have not been fulfilled since the end of white minority rule. The South African economy has stagnated since the global financial crisis in 2008.

Scandals swirling around President Jacob Zuma have also hurt the ANC. Opposition groups have seized on a scandal over state upgrades to Zuma's private home. The Constitutional Court recently said Zuma violated the constitution, and it instructed the president to reimburse the state for $507,000.

Many South Africans are also concerned over allegations that Zuma is heavily influenced by the Guptas, a wealthy business family of immigrants from India. The president has denied any wrongdoing.

A more radical opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, contested the local elections for the first time. It advocates the nationalization of industry and other measures it says will help the poor.

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With 95 percent of votes counted Friday in municipal elections, South Africa's ruling party appeared to have suffered its biggest electoral blow since it won power at the end of the apartheid era 22 years ago.The results remained too close to call in the country's largest...
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2016-29-05
Friday, 05 August 2016 07:29 AM
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