Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Cyril Ramaphosa has been sworn in for a second full term as President of South Africa, despite his African National Congress (ANC) failing to secure a majority in parliament in last month’s election. The ANC, which has governed since the end of apartheid in 1994, lost its majority for the first time following the May 29 election, which produced no outright winner.

Lawmakers re-elected Ramaphosa as president last week after the ANC formed a coalition government with its long-time rival, the Democratic Alliance (DA), and other parties. This coalition allowed the ANC to retain power despite their reduced parliamentary presence.

During the swearing-in ceremony, which was attended by numerous dignitaries, including several African heads of state, Ramaphosa took the oath of office administered by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. “I swear I will be faithful to the Republic of South Africa… I will obey, observe and uphold the constitution and all other laws of the republic,” Ramaphosa declared. Following the oath, the national anthem was played, accompanied by a 21-gun salute and a fly-past by army helicopters.

The ceremony was notably boycotted by the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party, formed six months ago by former President Jacob Zuma. The MK party, which secured 15% of votes and 58 parliamentary seats, described the inauguration as “farcical” and also boycotted parliament’s first sitting last Friday.

Ramaphosa retained the presidency despite the ANC’s vote share falling by 17 percentage points and losing 70 seats in parliament. The ANC secured 40% of the vote, while the DA came second with 22%. The coalition government, formed with the pro-business DA and three smaller parties, accounts for 68% of the seats in parliament.

This coalition marks a shift towards the political center, as the ANC’s left-wing and populist breakaway parties rejected the invitation to join the national unity government. Ramaphosa is expected to appoint a cabinet in the coming days, which will include members from the DA and other coalition partners.

In his inaugural address, Ramaphosa is anticipated to outline plans to address South Africa’s economic challenges. Under his leadership, the country has faced persistent issues such as power cuts, rising crime, and high unemployment rates. Ramaphosa first ascended to the presidency in 2018 after his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, was forced to resign amid corruption allegations, which Zuma has denied.

As South Africa embarks on this new phase of coalition governance, the country’s political landscape is set for significant changes, with hopes pinned on the new government to revive the struggling economy and bring stability.

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