South Africans vote on Wednesday in the closest election since the end of apartheid with the ruling African National Congress’ huge majority likely to be cut by a revitalised opposition.

new-anc3ANC leader Jacob Zuma will become South Africa’s fourth democratic president but will have his work cut out to assure investors his government will stick to policies which created the country’s longest period of economic growth.

More than 23 million voters are registered to cast their ballots on Wednesday in national and provincial elections in Africa’s biggest economy. Analysts say the ANC’s 70 percent majority may be reduced to between 60 and 65 percent — removing the ability to change the constitution at will with a two-thirds parliamentary majority.

“It looks to me like a close-run thing. A slightly more market-positive story would be that the ANC falls below the two-thirds majority,” said Mike Davies, Middle East and Africa analyst at Eurasia Group. “It still seems the more likely outcome that the ANC will lose a degree of support that it won in 2004. I would see the ANC falling slightly below the two-thirds majority”.

The official opposition Democratic Alliance, resurgent under new leader Helen Zille, and the new Congress of the People (COPE) — formed by dissident ANC leaders — are likely to take votes from the ruling party. The DA is seen winning up to 15 percent of votes and although COPE’s challenge has weakened since it was launched in December, the party is still expected to take up to 10 percent of the vote.



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