The governing African National Congress (ANC) is expected to be returned to office in South Africa’s parliamentary election, but with a reduced majority.
With more than 90 per cent of district results declared, the ANC has won 57 per cent of the ballot, well ahead of the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) on 21 per cent.
The ANC, which has been in power since 1994, won 62 per cent of the vote at the last general election in 2014.
Anger over the economy and corruption may have eroded its appeal.
The radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is in third place with 10 per cent, the official results indicate.
Analysts predict the ANC will win the election with up to 59 per cent of the vote.
Turnout was about 65 per cent in the twin parliamentary and provincial elections – a drop compared to the 73 per cent registered five years ago.
Some six million young people did not register to vote.
Full results are due today.
South Africa’s political landscape has shifted only slightly with these elections, the governing ANC slipping from 62 per cent to 57 per cent nationally.
That’s still quite an achievement for a party that has presided over a decade of economic stagnation and entrenched corruption.
President Cyril Ramaphosa can now claim a mandate to trim a bloated cabinet, see off his rivals, and watch a revived justice system bring an end to a culture of impunity.
But fixing South Africa’s stagnant economy may prove more complicated.
Although some foreign investors will be persuaded to return by the business-savvy president, the ANC, under pressure from populists, is still sending mixed messages about its reform plans.
One clear warning signal from this election is voter apathy – from the young in particular.
More than half of all eligible voters took no part in South Africa’s young and hard-won democracy.
Casting his vote in the country’s sixth democratic national election since apartheid ended 25 years ago, President Ramaphosa acknowledged the “rampant corruption” of recent years.
“We have made mistakes but we have been sorry about those mistakes and we are saying our people should reinvest their confidence in us,” he said.
“Corruption got into the way, patronage got into the way and not focusing on the needs of our people got in the way.” –BBC