Update: ANC win closely-watched South Africa poll with absolute majority

PRETORIA, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ruling ANC won re-election with an absolute majority in parliament, results showed, but with diminished support.

The results, published by the electoral commission, are the party’s worst national showing since Nelson Mandela led it to victory in the first multi-racial polls after apartheid ended in 1994.

The African National Congress (ANC) held a comfortable lead with 57.73 per cent at 1615 GMT after 95 per cent of voting districts were officially tallied following Wednesday’s vote.

That means they will be mathematically assured more than 50 per cent of votes cast in the final official tally, due to be announced Saturday.

Seats in parliament are allocated based on vote share and the party with the most representatives selects the president, who will be sworn in on May 25.

President Ramaphosa, 66, took over last year when the ANC forced then-president Jacob Zuma to resign after nine years dominated by corruption allegations and economic decline.

Results released by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) showed the ANC’s closest rival, the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), trailing with a distant 20.65 per cent of the vote.

The Economic Freedom Fighters, founded six years ago by former ANC youth leader Julius Malema, was in third place with 10.51 per cent � up four percentage points on 2014.

Forty-eight parties contested the elections � a record number.

The conservative and predominantly white Freedom Front Plus party, founded in 1994 during the negotiations to end apartheid, was performing unexpectedly well as the fifth-placed party in the vote. They were previously seventh.

About 26.8 million people were registered to vote but only around 65.6 per cent turned out.

Source: Nam News Network