Zuma cruises to victory, but vital majority less certain

Zuma cruises to victory, but vital majority less certain

South Africa’s governing party led in preliminary results today in elections expected to propel Jacob Zuma to the presidency.

Though a victory is expected for the African National Congress, the party is less sure of whether it can hold onto its two-thirds majority in what has become South Africa’s most contested election since the country’s first multiracial vote in 1994.

Parliament elects South Africa’s president by a simple majority, putting Mr Zuma in line for the post when the new assembly votes in May.

The ANC views Mr Zuma as the first leader who can energise voters since the legendary Nelson Mandela. But critics say Mr Zuma is too beholden to unions and leftists and will not be able to fulfil promises of creating jobs and a stronger social safety net amid the global recession.

Preliminary results from the 4.88 million ballots counted so far showed the ANC leading with 65%. A record 23 million South Africans registered to vote and polling officials said the turnout could be more than their pre-vote estimate of 80%. Final results are expected late tonight or possibly tomorrow morning.

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