The memory of Mandela is no longer enough

Although predictions are misleading when it comes to an inconclusive electoral process, There are times when they are completely right.. As polls predicted, Nelson Mandela’s historic party, the African National Congress (ANC), has lost its absolute majority since the 1994 South African elections. With 73% of the vote counted, and after a citizen participation of 58% (8 points above expectations), the party led by Cyril Ramaphosa leads the results with 41.52% support, in what could be internationally regarded as an electoral disaster.. They are followed by the Democratic Alliance (DA) with 22.44% of the vote, the newly formed uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) with 12.61% and Julius Malema’s radical-Marxist party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), with 9.41%.

Thirty years of economic regression, institutional corruption, and huge social inequalities despite the end of racial segregation have taken their toll on the ruling party of the last 30 years. The ANC will now have to form a coalition government Be very careful in choosing the right allies. Either they will count on MK votes, or they will risk their move to compromise with the EFF, knowing that Malema’s electoral promises, radical by their roots, risk definitively collapsing the social coexistence between the black South African population (92% of the country) and the white population (8%).

Now a field of possibilities has opened up. The dispute between Cyril Ramaphosa and former president Jacob Zuma, which led to the latter (along with his corruption scandals) being expelled from the ANC and made an MKthe ideological proximity between the two parties could hamper what is obviously the most sensible coalition. The EFF’s poor result (down one point from the 2018 elections) could make a coalition between Malema’s party and the ANC impossible without the inclusion of a third party, which would ultimately hinder the functioning of a tripartite government. The Democratic Alliance’s excellent result, up two points from previous results, makes it a very powerful force at the negotiating table. If a government is formed between the two, this would further reduce the ANC’s power.

There are already calls for Ramaphosa to be removed as ANC leader Making way for a leader capable of establishing an alliance with MK and paving the way for the most reasonable option. The name of Paul Mashlite, the current Deputy President of South Africa and number two in the ANC, resonates strongly as an option for change. Mashlite was a convinced activist in the fight against apartheid and his popularity makes him an ideal candidate for this purpose. In addition, his political phase in Jacob Zuma’s cabinet could make him an ideal negotiator with MK. It should be remembered that both MK and the EFF represent relatively recent splits from the ANC, where the EFF is considered a radical and nostalgic wing of the party’s ideas in the 20th century, while MK can be read as a more conservative option in their proposals. However, the leaders of both parties have publicly expressed their support for Vladimir Putin on several occasions.

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