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South Africa’s President Announces Intent to Form National Unity Government

WorldSouth Africa’s President Announces Intent to Form National Unity Government

Days after his African National Congress party faced historic losses at the polls, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa said on Thursday that he will seek to form a government that includes a wide range of parties, some with starkly opposing views.

Led by the A.N.C. since the fall of apartheid, South Africa has been in limbo since the watershed election on May 29 when voters punished the ruling party for failing to address issues like skyrocketing unemployment, regular power outages and high rates of crime.

Over the next few days, a weakened A.N.C. will meet with opposition parties to carve out a deal to avoid a hung Parliament — one in which no party or coalition has a majority — in what Mr. Ramaphosa cast as an effort to bring stability to South Africa’s government.

“We invite political parties to form a government of national unity as the best option to move our country forward,” Mr. Ramaphosa said in a news conference late on Thursday night. “This moment calls for the broadest unity of the people of South Africa.”

While the A.N.C. remains the largest party in South Africa, winning 40 percent of the vote in last week’s national election, it now has 159 seats, 42 short of a majority, in the 400-seat National Assembly, which elects the president.

In the A.N.C.’s proposal for a government of national unity, many parties would have representation, with cabinet ministers picked from multiple parties. Eighteen parties won at least one assembly seat in the election.

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