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  • A supporter holds a placard of Cyril Ramaphosa in Johannesburg, South Africa, May 5, 2019.

    A supporter holds a placard of Cyril Ramaphosa in Johannesburg, South Africa, May 5, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 11 May 2019

Although the African National Congress and the Democratic Alliance are still the largest parties, the Economic Freedom Fighters had the biggest growth in popularity.

South Africa's Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) confirmed Saturday the victory of the African National Congress (ANC) and president Cyril Ramaphosa with 57.50% of the vote.

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Partial Vote Counting in South Africa Confirms Victory by ANC

​​​​​​The center party Democratic Alliance (AD), which has traditionally been associated with the white minority, became the South Africa's second most important party under the leadership of Mmusi Maimane taking away 20.77 percent of the votes. During the 2014 election, however, the AD had slightly lower results.

The decline in popularity of the ANC and DC benefited the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a leftist party led by Julius Malema who was a former leader of the ANC youth group. This political force, formed six years ago, obtained 10.79 percent of the popular vote.

Only 65.99 of eligible voters went to this week's presidential polls making it the lowest participation rate since the end of apartheid in 1994, which testifies to the discontent generated by ANC corruption scandals, social inequality inherited from the past, an unprecedented economic crisis that includes a 27 percent unemployment rate.​​​​​​​

While the presidential campaign trail and voting day were peaceful, opposition parties denounced Thursday possible "multiple votes" in some regions. The IEC investigated and about 20 people were arrested for trying to vote more than once.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​Final result of the election are expected to be formally announced Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, the DA, EFF and a score of smaller parties are still complaining about their electoral shares.

They also threaten to prosecute the IEC if it does not issue an order to appoint an independent auditor and review election results. However, even if that order were issued it is very unlikely that the results will change.

Former Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete and former Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan, who led international electoral monitoring missions, testified that the South African elections proceeded in accordance with the local Constitution and laws.

At this moment, South Africa lives a festive atmosphere and hopes that Ramaphosa will create jobs and "revive the economy", which were the two greatest promises made by all parties.

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