23. April 2009

Election results show ANC in early lead

With more than 300 000 votes counted in this year's general election, the 60% mark continued to elude the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
By 2.30am on Thursday morning the ANC had received 180 433 votes (55,4%) and the Democratic Alliance was in second spot with 87 600 (26,9%) of the vote.
Although only a small fraction of vote has been counted, it became increasingly likely that the DA would once again emerge as the official opposition, beating the new kid on the block, the Congress of the People (Cope).
Cope was struggling to garner any major support in any of the nine provinces. Its best performance so far has been 14% of the Northern Cape vote, which translates into 1 699 votes in the least populated province in South Africa.
If the current voting trend continues, the smaller opposition parties' support will plummet. The latest results show the Independent Democrats on 2,84%, the United Democratic Movement 1,02% and the Inkatha Freedom Party, at 1,81%, were struggling to secure any significant support.
Great tolerance Meanwhile, observers said on Wednesday that SA sets an exemplary standard for elections.
Only observers from African countries are in South Africa to monitor the national elections.
Observers from the African Union, Pan-African Parliament (PAP), Southern African Development Community (SADC) as well as from Nigeria and Zimbabwe came to see whether the elections are free and fair.
"We are not here for an investigation, rather to show support for the process," Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, who heads the AU observer team said.
"There is no reason for concern here. There are strong institutions and great tolerance despite the past. The state of reconciliation that Madiba started in this country ensured this."
Salim pointed to xenophobic attacks last year as the only significant blot on the country's reconciliation track record.
"There is also so much enthusiasm by young people. It is an example to other countries on the continent," he said. (mail&guardian online)

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