By Friday, the Independent Electoral Commission had finished counting the ballots in South Africa’s sixth general election since the end of Apartheid. As expected, the African National Congress extended their quarter-century in power with a substantial, yet reduced, majority. What was not expected was both the extent of their reduction, and the subpar performance of at least one opposition party. The new National Assembly will present a fresh set of challenges to President Cyril Ramaphosa and his reform agenda.
In political science, a democratic transition is said to have been completed once at least two parties win elections. If that’s the case, the end of Apartheid twenty-five years ago merely marked the replacement of one dominant-party state by another. Since vanquishing the National Party— and white minority rule— in 1994, the African National Congress has won five consecutive elections, and governed alone. On Wednesday, the ANC will make it six in a row, and a full term for South Africa’s new President, Cyril Ramaphosa.