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SLUG: 2-315075 SAF / Election Results (L O)
TITLE=SAF / ELECTION RESULTS (L O)
[EDS: UPDATE LATEST FIGURES FROM CN WIRE IN INTRO]
INTRO: With more than a half of the results in, South Africa's ruling African National Congress is on track to win more than two-thirds of the seats in parliament. In a surprise to many, the party that ruled the country under apartheid lost most of its support. V-O-A Correspondent Challiss McDonough reports from Johannesburg.
TEXT: Final official results are not expected for several days, but the trend is clear from early results. The A-N-C looks set to win at least two-thirds of the votes, which is an improvement over its showing in the last election in 1999.
Political analyst Zubeida Jaffer of the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation is astounded that the ruling party's support has continued to grow, 10 years after it took power for the first time. She says the A-N-C is the party people associate with freedom.
/// JAFFER ACT ///
I can't fathom how it's possible that the A-N-C would grow its support despite the fact that the most serious problem continues to persist, and that's the joblessness .... and you ask yourself why are people still voting for the A-N-C? And the only thing, the two things that I see is one, people believe the A-N-C can still make a difference, and they are going to deliver these jobs. And secondly ... you know, the A-N-C has become more than -- it's not just a party. It's a wish and a hope and a dream, you know? That's the only way I can explain it.
/// END ACT ///
The largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, has improved its showing over the last election. But analysts say it is still failing to attract large numbers of black voters, and mainly seems to have benefited from the misfortune of other opposition parties.
No party managed to win outright control of two provinces, the Western Cape and the volatile Kwazulu-Natal, and both will likely be governed by a coalition. In Kwazulu-Natal, it is not yet clear which parties would form that alliance. In the Cape, it is likely to be an alliance between the A-N-C and its old rival, the New National Party, which is descended from the party that ran the apartheid state until 1994.
The two parties campaigned together, but the strategy backfired on the New National Party. It lost votes in every province, with its white supporters appearing to opt for the Democratic Alliance instead.
The New National Party downplays the effect of its poor electoral showing, but Steven Friedman, senior researcher at the Center for Policy Studies, says the party is fighting for survival.
/// FRIEDMAN ACT ///
Well, their situation is desperate to terminal, I would think. I mean, they will be kept alive on the sort of heart-lung machine of an alliance with the A-N-C in the Western Cape, which the A-N-C will need in order to form a government in the Western Cape. How they would survive beyond that period I really don't know because you really are talking about a situation where in their home base of the Western Cape, they go down to somewhere in the region of eight or nine percent.
/// END ACT ///
Parliament will meet next week to choose a new president, with re-election guaranteed for sitting President Thabo Mbeki.
The inauguration will be held on April 27, which is the 10th anniversary of South Africa's first democratic election. (SIGNED)
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