The ANC loses its absolute majority: what future for South Africa?

The African National Congress (ANC) – the continent’s oldest liberation movement, spearhead of resistance to apartheid, in power since 1994 – no longer constitutes a hegemonic force on the South African political scene (with 40, 2% of the votes, the ANC will obtain 159 seats out of 400, against 230 parliamentarians previously). Cyril Ramaphosa will become the first leader of the ANC without a parliamentary majority.

While his hero, Nelson Mandela, had voluntarily chosen, magnanimously, to preside over a coalition government (with the ANC, the National Party and the Zulu Inkatha Party) during the first three years of multiracial democracy, the South African president will have no other solution than to reach an agreement if he wants his party to remain in control.

As a result, the next two weeks will see the most important political negotiations to take place in South Africa since the talks that ended white rule in the early 1990s.

Pragmatism or populism

Ramaphosa, who then took on a key role in these discussions on behalf of Mandela, must once again face a major challenge. The precise results, including those of the provincial elections, which take place simultaneously, will have an influence on the evolution of the negotiations, but there are only two possible destinations in any case: pragmatism or populism. The path the country takes in the coming years will depend on what the president and other political actors decide in the coming days.

On the eve of the elections, many analysts believed that the ANC would defy the polls and secure a majority. They were wrong. Years of falling living standards, declining public services and rising crime have driven South Africans away from the ruling party.

The appearance of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), under the leadership of Jacob Zuma, replaced by Ramaphosa in 2018, offered many dissatisfied people a new means of expressing themselves. The old

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