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South Africa's Opposition Party Seeks Early Elections Over Corruption

11 August 2017

Demonstrators in Johannesburg and Cape Town held placards which read "fire Zuma" and "no confidence" during a vocal show of opposition against the president, who is facing allegations of corruption and financial mismanagement.

The African National Congress, which Mr Zuma leads, controls 249 seats in the 400-member National Assembly.

The rand fell by 1 percent on the announcement of the outcome.

Considering that the opposition altogether holds 151 seats in parliament, the 177 votes in favor and the nine abstentions mean that 21 ANC lawmakers joined the opposition and nine preferred to remain neutral.

Had he lost, he and his entire cabinet would have had to step down. Cathy Powell is a constitutional law expert at the University of Cape Town.

Political turmoil has rocked Africa's most industrialized nation which vies with Nigeria as the continent's largest economy, since the surprise removal of respected Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, back in March.

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Zuma's critics see him as having delegitimized the ANC, the liberation movement that has governed South Africa since the election of Nelson Mandela as the country's first democratic president put a definitive end to apartheid in 1994.

Proceedings leading up to the Secret Ballot vote began in Parliament on this afternoon where numerous Members of Parliament (MPs) voiced their reasons as to why ANC members should support the motion and vote to have the President Zuma removed.

It went further to accuse opposition parties of "craven opportunism and hypocrisy".

Following a two-hour debate before the voting process on Tuesday, opposition Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane, asked MPs to act "courageously" and vote Zuma out.

"The ANC would be at war with itself, with little or no prospect of it facing the electorate in 2019 in one piece".

"Mbete's decision was made knowing that Zuma will be secure", said Darias Jonker, of the New York-based Eurasia political analysis consultancy. Opposition parties mobilized tens of thousands of people and anti-Zuma protests around South Africa.

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"The result reveals an ANC that is totally divided against itself".

Zuma arrived to celebration and cheers of his name after he narrowly survived a motion of no confidence against him in the National Assembly on Tuesday night.

The downgrades followed a series of corruption scandals, and Zuma is also under fire over his handling of the economy.

Mr Zuma's ties to the Gupta family, immigrant businessmen accused of trying to manipulate government leaders and state companies for financial gain, have also stirred public anger.

He is also fighting a court order that could reinstate nearly 800 corruption charges against him over a multi-billion dollar arms deal in the 1990s.

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South Africa's Opposition Party Seeks Early Elections Over Corruption