ANC considers alliance as it faces a fatal blow in South Africa’s elections

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The African National Congress on Saturday was poised to suffer a severe blow in the country’s general election, sparking frantic internal discussions about possible permutations of a coalition government in future.

With more than 98% of votes counted, the ANC took 40.2% and the market-oriented Democratic Alliance was in second place with 21.7%.

Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto weSizwe party, founded six months ago, overturned the election results, taking 14.7%, a surprisingly high percentage.

According to party insiders, the ANC is in a “state of skepticism” about the election results. They must now consider how they can continue to govern and whether they can keep Cyril Ramaphosa as leader.

The party’s national executive committee, its main decision-making body, will meet on Sunday to discuss what is said to be the movement’s biggest crisis in 30 years.

“This is apocalyptic and possibly even existential for the ANC,” said Richard Calland, a law professor and political analyst. “It raises the question of which party they want to be in the future: do they want to be a party that rules from the center and defends the constitution, or do they want to let themselves be dragged to extremes where the democratic tail Are you addicted to waving the dog?

“It was a stunning defeat for the ANC,” said one person close to the party.

“The bad guys will say it was a defeat for Cyril and that we lost because we got rid of him [Julius] Malema, Zuma, Ace [Magashule],” this person said, referring to prominent former members who were kicked out of the group. “The other side will say it was a failure because the innovation project did not go deep enough to regain the trust of voters.”

The National Assembly has 14 days to elect a president after the results are announced.

If there are moves to oust Ramaphosa, there will be speculation about who might replace him and what that might mean for the composition of any potential coalition. Analysts say that if Paul Mashatile, the ANC deputy president, takes over, he will be inclined to strike a deal with Zuma’s MKs and possibly Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters, a The move could make financial markets nervous.

Other names mentioned as outside possibilities to succeed Ramaphosa include Gwede Mantashe, the powerful energy minister, and Naledi Pandor, the foreign minister.

Susan Booysen, a political analyst and emeritus professor at Wits University, gave Ramaphosa a good chance of sticking around. “Even if the ANC wanted to remove Ramaphosa, there is no credible alternative leader at this stage,” she said.

“I don’t think anyone is ready to raise their hand and slash Cyril,” said one person close to the ANC.

If Ramaphosa stays, analysts say the chances of a formal or informal alliance with the DA will increase. One possibility being discussed is a national unity government consisting of the ANC and DA, with other smaller parties including the Inkatha Freedom Party also participating.

Instead, the ANC could form a minority government with support from the DA on an ad hoc basis. In return, the DA may be given the position of Speaker of the House, giving them control over the parliamentary process.

“The potential models are still deeply debated but seem to be settling around two main options,” said a DA insider who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the discussions internal party.

A supply-and-trust model “in which the DA would gain certain policy concessions and take control of the legislature” is one possibility, he said.

Alternatively, the DA could consider an “overall model of a national unity government” with the ANC and IFP to “avoid the EFF/MK/ANC national coalition which we know would devastate South Africa”.


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