South African president will not step down after losing majority, says ANC

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will remain as leader of the African National Congress. AP
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will remain as leader of the African National Congress. Credit: AP

South Africa's president Cyril Ramaphosa will not step down despite his party losing its majority, the African National Congress (ANC) has said.

The ANC has held a majority in South Africa for 30 years, but have only won around 40% of the vote in Wednesday's election.

The ANC is still the biggest party, but will now need to hold coalition talks before it can form a government.

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula said Mr Ramaphosa would remain as party leader and any demands from others that he resign for talks to go ahead was “a no-go area.”

“President Ramaphosa is the president of the ANC," he said. “And if you come to us with that demand that Ramaphosa is going to step down as the president, that is not going to happen.”

Mr Mbalula said the ANC was open to talks with every other political party in an effort to form a government, but “no political party will dictate terms to us, the ANC".

Mr Mbalula conceded the ANC, which has dominated South African politics since the end of apartheid in 1994, “suffered heavily” in the election but said it was “not booted out.”

The election results board in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Credit: AP

The ANC received just over 40% of votes, falling well short of the majority it has held for all of South Africa’s young democracy.

“The results send a clear message to the ANC,” Mr Mbalula said. “We wish to send a message to the people of South Africa: We have heard them.”

He said the ANC was committed to forming a government that reflects the will of the people and is stable.

The new MK Party of former President Jacob Zuma, which won 14%, has said Mr Ramaphosa must resign for it to enter any coalition talks with the ANC.

The ANC has many options for coalition partners among South Africa's other parties, including one with the main opposition Democratic Alliance, which won 21% of votes.

"We’ll talk to everybody," Mr Mbalula said. “We are talking to everybody because the election did not give us outright majority.

"Talks about talks are in full swing. We are engaged and we are open to engagement. We need stability in this country.”

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