June 30, 2007

ANC launches leadership selection

South Africa's ruling ANC party has signalled the start of a process that will almost certainly see the selection of the country's next president. The African National Congresss has called on its branches to begin internal talks on who the party's candidate should be. The final decision will be taken on the ANC candidate at conference in December. Whoever wins the party's nomination is almost certain to become the next president, as the ANC won nearly 70% of all votes in the last election in 2004.
Until now most candidates have kept a low profile. Only the ANC deputy president, Jacob Zuma, has declared he is willing to stand. His supporters have been criss-crossing the country, trying to drum up support. Although Mr Mbeki cannot seek re-election as the country's president he wants to stay on as leader of his party - and influence his successor. A leading Sunday newspaper says the president will back Joel Netshitenzhe, the head of the government's information service, and a key ally. But other names are also in the frame. There is Tokyo Sexwale and Cyril Ramaphosa - two of the country's richest men - and the ANC's secretary general, Kgalema Motlanthe. (Rts)

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