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South Africa elections: ANC wins absolute majority, but support drops

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ANC supporter awaits results in Diepkloof township in Johannesburg,
ANC supporter awaits results in Diepkloof township in Johannesburg, -
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REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
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After a longer-than-expected process of counting and auditing, the South African parliamentary elections concluded on Saturday.

Preliminary results released by the election commission show that president Cyril Ramaphosa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) won re-election with an absolute majority in parliament.

However, with 57.51% of the vote, the ANC's performance at the national level is at an all-time low.

Charges of corruption, economic instability and unemployment could be seen as the driving force of the fall in popularity of the leading party in Africa's largest economy.

This is the third consecutive election to see a drop in the ANC's performance. The party had received 62.15% votes in the 2014 elections.

The party has been in power since Nelson Mandela's victory in the first multi-racial election after the end of apartheid in 1994.

This year's registered turnout was about 65% in the twin parliamentary and provincial elections. In 2014, it was 73%

What has startled observers this time around, was that over six million young people — of which half were in the age group of 18-30 — did not register to vote. This shows deep dissatisfaction in the current political status quo.

ANC's main opposition Democratic Alliance trailed second with 20.76% votes.

The Economic Freedom Fighters, founded six years ago by former ANC youth leader Julius Malema, was in third place with 10.79%, a significant jump from 6.35% in the previous parliamentary election.