South Africa - general election - Wednesday 8 May
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s bid to consolidate his grip on power and revive the flagging economy in the aftermath of Jacob Zuma’s scandal-marred rule faces a critical test in today’s sixth post-apartheid national election.
While opinion polls point to the ruling ANC extending its quarter-century monopoly on power, Ramaphosa needs a decisive win to quell opposition in his faction-riven party to push through reforms needed to increase growth in Africa’s most-industrialised economy. The ANC’s main challengers among 48 parties contesting the national vote are Mmusi Maimane’s center-right DA and the populist Economic Freedom Fighters, led by former ANC youth wing leader Julius Malema.
Voting for the 400-member National Assembly and nine provincial legislatures is due to run from 7 AM to 9 PM local time. Final results are scheduled to be released by 11 May, and a first meeting of the new parliament has been provisionally set for 22 May. The country’s president is officially elected at that sitting.