South Africa’s ANC is in talks with five other parties about a possible coalition, but says it is still early days


JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Top officials of South Africa’s African National Congress have held initial talks with representatives of five other parties about a coalition or other deal to form a government, but no decision has yet been made and talks are continuing are in an early stage. The ANC said this on Wednesday.

South Africa faced an election deadlock after the long-ruling ANC lost its 30-year majority in elections last week, but no party managed to overtake it. The ANC remained the largest party.

ANC spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri told reporters that “exploratory” talks had been held with the main opposition Democratic Alliance, the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters and three other smaller parties. She said the ANC had “repeatedly” contacted former president Jacob Zuma’s new MK party for talks but there had been “no positive response”.

Zuma is a former ANC leader who left the party and became fiercely critical of current President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The ANC has framed the talks with other parties as an attempt to form a “national unity” government, and a formal coalition is not the only option.

It could involve many parties in the agreement, and not just those that can achieve a majority with their combined share of votes. The ANC could also still form a minority government and Bhengu-Motsiri said the ANC could even consider taking its place on the opposition benches if that is best for the country.

Africa’s most industrialized economy is in a moment of uncertainty after a testy election result for Nelson Mandela’s party. It has governed South Africa since the end of the white minority apartheid system in 1994.

The ANC says it is open to working with any of the more than fifty parties that contested last week’s elections to find a solution. Parliament must meet on June 16 to elect a president – with Ramaphosa seeking a second term – and for that there must be some kind of agreement.


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