- Title: SOUTH AFRICA: Polls close in South African election
- Date: 23rd April 2009
- Summary: JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA (APRIL22,2009) (REUTERS) LAST MINUTE VOTERS RUNNING INTO TENT VARIOUS OF ELECTION OFFICIALS VARIOUS OF PEOPLE CASTING THEIR BALLOT VARIOUS OF BALLOT BOXES BEING SEALED BOX BEING CARRIED AWAY WIDE OF POLLING STATION
- Embargoed: 8th May 2009 13:00
- Location: South Africa
- Country: South Africa
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVADORNFPKUM7PKGWKA0DF8U3PWJ
- Story Text: Polls have closed in many places across South Africa in an election that poses the toughest challenge to the African National Congress since the end of apartheid and could weaken its overwhelming dominance in parliament.
But in some centres they ran out of ballot papers and the polling stations have been granted leave to stay open beyond the deadline of 1900gmt on Wednesday (April 22) so queues of people waiting to vote can be accomodated.
The ANC looks assured of a fourth straight win since defeating white minority rule in 1994 under Nelson Mandela and will make its leader Jacob Zuma president weeks after he was able to get corruption charges dropped on a technicality.
From before dawn until past dusk, queues snaked outside polling stations across the country. Turnout was expected to top 80 percent, with the highest number of voters since 1994.
Many analysts believe the ANC, whose anti-apartheid credentials make it the choice for millions of black voters, will win between 60 and 66 percent of the vote, compared to nearly 70 percent in 2004.
A key challenge to the ANC comes from a new party formed by those loyal to former President Thabo Mbeki, ousted by the ANC amid allegations he meddled in the corruption case against Zuma.
The first credible black opposition party, the Congress of the People (COPE), has struggled to win over the poor, although presidential candidate Mvume Dandala said the new party was still optimistic it could bring change.
The official opposition Democratic Alliance, resurgent under new leader Helen Zille, a white South African, also hopes to boost its presence in parliament.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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