(Vatican Radio) The ruling African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa is headed for its biggest electoral setback since it won power at the end of apartheid 22 years ago.
The ANC has won more than 60% of the vote in every election since 1994, but have fallen below 55% in this election.
“The people are telling the ANC by voting for alternative candidates that they are not happy with the ANC’s performance,” said Günther Simmermacher, the editor of The Southern Cross, the leading weekly Catholic newspaper in the country.
“This election, even though it was a municipal election – a local election – was also seen as a referendum on the presidency of Jacob Zuma, who has been riddled by various scandal of the last few years, and whose government is seen as being very corrupt,” he told Vatican Radio
“The other point of significance in this particular election is that the opposition Democratic Alliance, which has long been seen as a liberal party for the middle-classes and for white people, has become the majority party in the city of Port Elizabeth,” Simmermacher continued.
“What is important about that is that the Democratic Alliance is now able to demonstrate in an area outside the Western Cape – which includes Cape Town [South Africa’s only major city where blacks are not the majority] where they have been governing for the past ten years – that they are a plausible alternative to the African National Congress,” he explained.
Another opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, also contested the local elections for the first time. The left-wing party advocates for the nationalization of industry, and received nearly 8% of the vote.