South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has won a resounding victory in spite of a slight loss of support.
Preliminary results on Friday showed that the ANC won 62.5 per cent of the votes counted in more than 94 per cent of voting districts on Friday.
The ANC had 62.5 per cent of the votes, down from 65.9 per cent it recorded in the 2009 elections.
The main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) made strong gains on Wednesday’s voting, raising its share of the vote to about 22 per cent from 16.7 per cent.
“People are seeing we are the best opposition there is,” DA leader Helen Zille said. “The ANC has got the fright of its life.”
The new far-left Economic Freedom Fighters party, which advocates the seizure of white-owned land without compensation, was in third with nearly six per cent.
The ANC has governed South Africa since the country’s first democratic elections ended apartheid and swept Nelson Mandela to power 20 years ago. Mandela died in December.
The party is respected for bring the end of racial discrimination, and its supporters say the country had made huge strides in improving the living conditions of the black majority.
The ANC has been criticised for the 24 per-cent unemployment rate in the country.
The deep gulf between the rich and the poor indicates that many of its leaders are mainly interested in enriching themselves.
The country has been engulfed with corruption scandals, and President Jacob Zuma has been accused of spending more than 20 million dollars of taxpayers’ money to upgrade his rural homestead.
Zuma, who now appears set to secure a second term in office, said the upgrade was for security purposes.
The pro-business DA grew out of apartheid-era white parties, but it has wooed black voters, fielding black candidates and promising to create jobs.
Meanwhile, the UN on Friday congratulated the people and government of South Africa on the peaceful conduct of parliamentary and provincial elections, amid reports of high voter turnout.
A statement issued by the UN Information Centre in Pretoria said “the UN Secretary-General applauds the determination of South Africans to participate meaningfully in the democratic system the country has fought so hard to establish.
“The UN is committed to continue supporting South Africa in its efforts to advance justice and development for the benefit of all segments of the society.”