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PoliticsSouth Africa

South Africa election: ANC losing majority in early results

May 31, 2024

The African National Congress could lose its parliamentary majority for the first time, according to partial election results. It remains unclear who a potential coalition partner would be if that came to pass.

Independent Electoral Commission officials receive results at the National Results Operations Center in Johannesburg, South Africa on May 30, 2024
Results from South Africa's general election are expected in the coming daysImage: Jerome Delay/AP/picture alliance

South Africa's governing African National Congress (ANC) on Thursday was on the path to losing its parliamentary majority for the first time in three decades since coming into power.

South Africans voted on Wednesday in the 7th general elections since the dawn of democracy, although since 1994, never before has the future of South Africa's political landscape looked so unclear. 

What we know about the results

Partial election results with 42.8% of the votes counted had the ANC with 42.7%, far below the 50% threshold needed for a majority in parliament. The party won 57.5% of votes during the previous election in 2019.

The country's pro-business Democratic Alliance (DA) has 23.57%, while the left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are neck and neck with the newly formed uMkhontowe Sizwe party (MK) of former President Jacob Zuma, with 9.53% and 10.08% respectively.

The potential loss of a parliamentary majority could result in the ANC being forced into a coalition for the first time since coming into power in 1994.

Early results show ANC losing absolute majority in South Africa: DW's Dianne Hawker

What we know about the counting process

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said that all votes had been counted by Thursday afternoon but most had yet to be validated.

The IEC said in a briefing that the process was "proceeding well," however it was going to take longer than the usual 24 hours to reach an 80% tally due to the new three-ballot system.

The new system is comprised of a national ballot of the 52 parties vying for 200 National Assembly seats.

There is also a regional ballot of political parties and independent candidates contesting seats reserved for each province in the National Assembly.

This is followed by a provincial ballot, unique to each of the country's nine provinces and includes parties and candidates vying for seats in each provincial legislature.

The final results are expected in the next three days.

South Africa election: Early results put ANC below 50%

Elections 'a serious test for the ANC' 

DW correspondent Dianne Hawker has been tracking developments in South Africa and said that Wednesday's vote was "a serious test for the ANC government," adding that there have been "a lot of concerns raised by citizens about how the ANC has managed the government over the last 30 years."

"We are seeing the result of that management in the results we are seeing coming from the IEC national results center at the moment," Hawker explained. The results seen thus far "can be taken almost as a referendum of their conduct up until this point."

Who the ANC chooses as an alliance partner if the current picture remains unchanged was anyone's guess, Hawker said.

"There are so many parties participating in this election and to be quite honest it's quite difficult to give a prediction this early on as to who they could choose to get into a coalition with if they do."

"Part of the reason for that is that the ideological backgrounds of these parties varies significantly and everybody of course wants their own policies to come to the fore."

Unemployment one of top concerns for South Africans

kb/fb (Reuters, AP)