Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Cyril Ramaphosa re-elected as President of South Africa – DW – 06/14/2024


Cyril Ramaphosa was re-elected as President during the first session of South Africa’s newly elected Parliament late on Friday.

He was re-elected with the support of several opposition parties, which will form a national unity government with Ramaphosa’s African National Congress.

The African National Congress, which came to power in 1994 after the end of apartheid in South Africa, lost its parliamentary majority for the first time in the recent elections.

With only 159 of the 400 seats in the National Assembly, the party had to rely on the Democratic Alliance, which won 87 seats, to elect Ramaphosa.

Several other parties, including the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the National Alliance (PA), will be part of the national unity government.

South Africa: Ramaphosa re-elected after coalition agreement

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ANC mediators deal with the unity government

Earlier on Friday, the ANC reached an agreement to form a unity government with its former political rivals, the Democratic Alliance.

DA leader John Steenhausen said the day would “go down in the annals of history as the beginning of a new chapter” in South Africa.

“It is my honor to inform you that after two weeks of comprehensive negotiations that ended only after the start of today’s parliamentary session, the Democratic Alliance reached an agreement on a statement of intent to form a national unity government.”

The smaller Inkatha Freedom Party and the National Alliance said they would also join the unity government.

ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula said while ministerial positions had not yet been decided, “things are fluid.”

National unity government “buzzword”

DW’s Diane Hooker follows developments in Cape Town and says the national unity government is “the big buzzword today.”

“We realize that the ANC and the Democratic Alliance will form the core of that national unity government,” she said.

“The Democratic Alliance is the second largest party in this Parliament and has been a long-standing opposition party to the ANC. In fact, during the election campaign period, they were campaigning to save South Africa from the ANC. But they had that election in mind,” Hooker explained. “The battles are behind them and they now seem to have found a way forward with the ANC leaders.”

EFF not interested in being part of unity government – ​​ANC Secretary-General

According to the ANC’s Mbalula, the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters party refused to join what it described as a unity government.

“We have engaged in exploratory discussions with the LTTE and have not met each other on the issue of the national unity government,” Mbalula told reporters. “We dealt with the Democratic Alliance, and agreed with them on a national unity government.”

Mbalula said the ANC would continue to engage with the populist Umkhonto we Sizwe party led by former president Jacob Zuma, which questioned the results of the elections held on May 29.

Zuma’s party, which won 58 seats, had warned that it would boycott Friday’s proceedings.

The leaders of the MK and EFF are former members of the ANC, with Julius Malema at one time being president of the ANC Youth League before being expelled from the party, while Zuma was the leader of the ANC for 10 years.

First session of Parliament

The first session of Parliament was held at the Cape Town International Convention Center located less than 2 kilometers (1.24 mi) from the Parliament Building, which is undergoing extensive renovations after being severely damaged in a fire in January 2022.

The members were sworn in and administered the constitutional oath, under the supervision of the country’s Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

Thoko Didiza, a member of the ANC’s National Executive Committee – the party’s main decision-making body – was elected Speaker of the National Assembly, receiving 284 of the 341 votes cast.

Didiza works in Ramaphosa’s government as Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development.

The DA’s Annalie Loutret has been elected to the position of Deputy Speaker of Parliament.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) called for the secret votes to be counted in an observable mannerPhotograph: Nick Bothma/Reuters

President Ramaphosa’s nomination did not go unchallenged, as the Front nominated its leader Julius Malema as a candidate.

The President will be sworn in at an inauguration ceremony to be held in Pretoria on June 19.

The president will then unveil his new cabinet, which will include members of his party and the parties in the unity government.

Materials from Agence France-Presse and Reuters were used in preparing this report.

Edited by: Shawn Sinico