South Africa’s election results are imminent, but the selection of the president will happen later due to procedural steps.

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South Africa recently conducted a national election, potentially the most fiercely contested in three decades. The African National Congress (ANC), in power since the end of apartheid in 1994, faces a significant challenge to maintain its majority. Unlike direct presidential elections, South Africans vote for parties, determining the composition of Parliament, which then elects the president.

On Election Day, spanning from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., citizens across nine provinces cast their votes. Nearly 28 million registered voters participated, deciding both national and provincial legislatures’ makeup. Counting begins promptly after polls close, with final results expected by Sunday, managed by the independent electoral commission.

The president is chosen in Parliament following the national vote’s announcement. The lower house, the National Assembly, comprises 400 lawmakers who vote for the head of state. Historically, the ANC, with a parliamentary majority, has appointed the president. However, this year presents potential historic shifts.

Recent polls indicate ANC’s support below 50%, suggesting a loss of parliamentary majority. Though still expected to be the largest party, falling below 50% mandates coalition agreements to sustain governance and secure the necessary 201 votes to reelect President Cyril Ramaphosa. In the event of a minority government, negotiations among parties would precede Parliament’s convening within 14 days post-election results.

While an opposition coalition to displace the ANC seems remote, internal divisions and pre-election agreements complicate the landscape. The Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the two primary opposition parties, are as critical of each other as they are of the ANC, minimizing cooperation prospects. The DA’s pre-election coalition with smaller parties, excluding the EFF, aims to challenge the ANC, yet substantial vote increases are imperative for a successful takeover.

Amid uncertainties, the ANC maintains confidence in securing an outright majority, though coalition prospects remain undisclosed. Ramaphosa, post-voting, expressed optimism in the ANC’s prospects.

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