South Africa’s ANC party loses its 30-year majority in landmark election result

The African National Congress party lost its parliamentary majority in a historic election result Saturday that puts South Africa on a new political path for the first time since the end of the apartheid system of white minority rule 30 years ago.

With more than 99% of votes counted, the once-dominant ANC had received just over 40% in Wednesday's election, well short of the majority it had held since the famed all-race vote of 1994 that ended apartheid and brought it to power under Nelson Mandela. The final results are still to be formally declared by the Independent Electoral Commission, but the ANC cannot pass 50% and an era of coalition government — also a first for South Africa — is looming.

The electoral commission said it would formally declare the results on Sunday.

While opposition parties hailed the outcome as a momentous breakthrough for a country struggling with deep poverty and inequality, the ANC remained the biggest party by some way. However, the unprecedented slump in its support means it will now likely need to look for a coalition partner or partners to remain in the government and reelect President Cyril Ramaphosa for a second and final term. Parliament elects the South African president 14 days after election results are declared.

"This is a moment we need to manage and manage well," he said.

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