South Africa elections: Early count show wide ANC lead

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About two million votes were counted in South Africa’s the national elections by 6.15am on Thursday morning. The results, which put the ANC far in the lead with 1 289 275 votes, were released at the Independent Electoral Commission centre in Pretoria, reports says.

This is around nine percent of the 23 181 997 voters registered to vote in the general elections on Wednesday. It is not yet clear how many of them turned out at the polls.

The DA (Democratic Alliance) was a far second on the leader board with 424 711 of the votes. In third place was the recently-established Cope, which is only 126 days old, with 157 327 votes.

The IFP took fourth position with 58 043 votes followed by the ID with 41 289. The FFPlus followed with 28 425 votes, while the A Party trailed in last with 365 votes.

In the provincial election results, the ANC was leading in eight out of nine provinces. The DA was ahead in the Western Cape. However, political observers believe the ANC received a significant boost after the National Prosecuting Authority dropped an eight-year-old graft charge against Zuma.

The move infuriated the opposition, which sharply condemned the move,
arguing that the prosecuting authority had caved in under political pressure.

But Zuma and his supporters believe that the graft charges are politically motivated to prevent him from becoming South Africa’s next president. Zuma has campaigned on promises to extend the gains of South Africa’s democratic transition to millions of people still living in poverty.

Wednesday’s general election was the country’s fourth consecutive vote after the country allowed enfranchisement to black South Africans for the first time in 1994.

Recent polls ahead of the election suggested the ruling party would win at least 60% of the vote, with the breakaway COPE and the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) earning about 10% each.

According to reports lection officials claimed the system ran smoothly for the country’s 23 million voters Wednesday, but suffered some setbacks.

There were growing concerns that voters had been turned away as polling stations suffered a shortage of ballot papers and boxes.

Unconfirmed reports suggested officials had started reusing sealed ballot boxes, raising concerns about the legitimacy of the count. The country’s Independent Electoral Commission was trying frantically to get more ballot papers to the affected stations, while the ANC called for stations to remain open until midnight.

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