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Saturday, April 25, 2009

South Africa ANC election majority not enough to change constitution
Andrew Gilmore at 6:39 PM ET

[JURIST] The African National Congress (ANC) [party website] was formally declared the winner of South African parliamentary elections Saturday, but its win fell short of the two-thirds majority [BBC report] of seats needed to change or amend the country's constitution and pass legislation on its own. The election clears the way for party leader Jacob Zuma [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] to be named president upon the reconvening of Parliament of the Republic of South Africa [official website]. A number of opposition parties, including the Congress of the People (COPE) [party website], formed by supporters of Zuma's political rival, former ANC leader and South African president Thabo Mbeki [ANC profile] criticized the ANC during the vote, arguing that a landslide ANC election win would result in too much power - including the power to change the constitution unopposed - being concentrated in the hands of one party. Parliament is expected to reconvene next month [AP report].

Earlier this month, the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa (NPA) [official website] decided to drop corruption charges [JURIST report] against Zuma after a long legal battle. In January, the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa [official website] reinstated the charges, which had been invalidated [JURIST reports] in September. Zuma was first charged with corruption in 2005, but those charges were later dismissed [JURIST report] because prosecutors failed to follow proper procedures.

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