ANC leads in South Africa polls

April 23rd, 2009 - 12:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Johannesburg, April 23 (DPA) The ruling African National Congress (ANC) was leading in South African national elections after votes were counted at 21 percent of the polling stations, South African radio said Thursday.
The ANC was receiving 60.6 percent of the vote, followed by the Democratic Alliance of Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille with 21.88 percent. Coming in third was the Congress of the People (COPE), founded by disaffected ANC members last year, with 7.63 percent of the vote.

The last of the 19,000 polling stations closed early Thursday. South Africa’s fourth democratic elections, widely regarded the most exciting and important for the country’s future, were marked by unexpectedly high turnout of about 76 percent.

The turnout in some places was so high that some polling stations ran out of ballots, prompting the Independent Electoral Commission to rush to print two million extra ballots - one million each for the national and provincial elections, which were held at the same time.

The election to the 400-seat National Assembly and nine provincial assemblies, which was observed by 5,000 domestic and more than 300 international observers, passed off peacefully despite minor irregularities.

The main question was whether the opposition in Africa’s most important industrial nation would succeed in depriving the ANC of its two-thirds majority in the National Assembly.

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