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South African president Thabo Mbeki asked to step down
Thabo Mbeki of South African has been asked by his party ANC to step down but the plan is carefully crafted to ensure that his departure will not lead to an early election.
Several influential publication today say that there are "strong indications" that the ANC NEC decided in the early hours of Saturday morning that Mbeki must be replaced.
He is expected to resign.
An official announcement from the ANC is expected later on Saturday, reports say.
The ANC has said a press conference will be held at 12:30, and that an announcement will be made to the country at this time.
Deputy president Phumzile Mlambo- Ngcuka earlier on Saturday indicated that should Mbeki be asked to resign, she would resign as well, paving the way for Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete to be sworn in as acting President by Parliament next week.
It is said that the national working committee (NWC), decided at a meeting on Monday to recommend Mbeki’s removal as president.
On Monday Mbeki was in Harare.
The ANC Youth League has called for his removal following a Pietermaritzburg High Court judgment that Mbeki may have been involved in a political conspiracy against ruling party leader Jacob Zuma.