Let’s Make a Deal

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was re-elected for a second term over the weekend after his African National Congress (ANC) reached a coalition agreement with three other parties following last month’s dismal showing for the party in the general election, Al Jazeera reported.

The ANC, which dominated South Africa’s politics since the end of apartheid in 1994, lost its majority for the first time in the May 29 parliamentary vote, paving the way for coalition talks with other parties.

On Friday, the anti-apartheid movement reached a deal with the main opposition party and rival Democratic Alliance (DA) to form a unity government. The coalition will also include two other parties, the Inkatha Freedom Party and the Patriotic Alliance.

Soon after the agreement was signed, lawmakers participated in a marathon parliamentary session to reelect Ramaphosa, despite a boycott from the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party of former President Jacob Zuma, who fell out with the ANC.

Meanwhile, parliament picked a lawmaker from the ANC and the DA as its speaker and deputy speaker, respectively – the first instance of power-sharing between the two parties.

Ramaphosa hailed the new coalition deal as a “new birth, a new era for our country,” adding that it was time for parties “to overcome their differences and to work together.”

The agreement marks the end of the ANC’s dominance in the country’s politics: The party of freedom fighter Nelson Mandela has been losing popularity in recent years amid rising poverty, inequality, spiking crime, and corruption scandals.

Despite ending the political gridlock, analysts said the new coalition agreement is raising questions about whether the two parties will be able to govern effectively, the Associated Press noted.

They disagree on numerous issues, including nationalization and privatization of key industries, healthcare, labor rights and foreign policy, such as South Africa’s pro-Palestine stance.

The coalition agreement has caused internal divisions within the ANC, too, with some senior leaders preferring a coalition with Zuma’s MK or the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters, the BBC added.

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