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South Africa’s electoral body calls for “calm” as it tallies votes

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) called for “calm” as it tallied votes in the country’s election, amid reports the African National Congress (ANC) party has lost its parliamentary majority.

“This is a moment that we need to manage and manage well. We are grateful that we have come this far with all of you. Don’t be tired. We are not done yet,” said IEC Chairperson Mosotho Moepya in a statement Saturday.

With more than 99% of votes counted Saturday, the once-dominant ANC had received just over 40% of votes cast Wednesday, well short of the majority it had held since the famed all-race vote of 1994 that ended apartheid and brought it to power under Nelson Mandela.

The final results are still to be formally declared by the independent electoral commission that ran the election.

At the start of the election, the commission said it would formally declare the results by Sunday, but that could come earlier.

While opposition parties have hailed the result as a momentous breakthrough for a country struggling with deep poverty and inequality, the ANC remained the biggest party by some way.

However, it will now likely need to look for a coalition partner or partners to remain in the government and reelect President Cyril Ramaphosa for a second and final term.

Parliament elects the South African president after national elections.

Additional sources • AP

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