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Friday, June 4, 1999 Published at 06:39 GMT 07:39 UK


World: Africa

ANC celebrates landslide

First the party: Then the hard work begins

Supporters of the African National Congress have taken to the streets to celebrate the party's overwhelming victory in South Africa's second all-race elections.


ANC 66%
DP 10%
IFP 8%
NNP 8%
UDM 3%
Others 5%

The ANC is within a fraction of a two-thirds majority, which would give it the power to change the country's constitution.

It has so far secured control of seven out of nine provincial legislatures.

President-elect Thabo Mbeki has sought to allay fears, among the ANC's opponents, of a government with the power to alter the constitution.

South African Elections
At a victory rally he called on ANC supporters and opponents to work together for the good of South Africa.

He said: "The ANC will approach the exercise of power without any arrogance, with humility, with a deep sense of responsibility, to ensure ... we act together to build a South Africa that truly belongs to all who live in it, both black and white.


[ image:  ]
"The people have directed us to move ... faster with our programme of reconstruction and development so that the goal of a better life for all is achieved sooner rather than later."

The rally was a vivid symbol of the new era, with the focus completely on Mr Mbeki.

Supporters chanted his name and posters with his picture filled the backdrop. In contrast, the party's hero and outgoing president, Mr Mandela, was on holiday.


Thabo Mbeki: "The people have given clear orders ..."
Mr Mbeki referred to his predecessor, who served 27 years in prison in the anti-apartheid struggle, only at the end of his speech - as he thanked ANC officials for their election effort.

Mr Mandela will step down at Mr Mbeki's expected inauguration on 16 June.

The changeover is widely expected to be smooth because Mr Mbeki, 56, has been running day-to-day government affairs for the past two years.

While Mr Mbeki spoke, vote totals continued to arrive at an election centre in Pretoria, the capital.


Jeremy Vine reports: "The margin of his triumph took even his most ardent supporters by surprise"
The New National Party, which imposed apartheid and administered its comprehensive laws of racial segregation for 46 years, looks like losing its status as the largest opposition party with only 8% of the votes.

Running second behind the ANC with 10% was the Democratic Party, founded as an anti-apartheid movement in the 1980s but increasingly popular among whites because of its shift to an anti-crime, anti-ANC stance.

The Zulu-nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party had about 8%. An array of smaller parties trailed well behind.


Greg Barrow at the count: "Fascinating changes in the political landscape"
Officials estimated that 85% of the 18.2m registered voters cast ballots, just under the 87% turnout in the historic 1994 election.

Voters waited in lines sometimes for up to seven hours, yet only minor disturbances were reported, even in areas that five years ago were wracked by violence.

International observers said the election was free and fair.

Jan Nico Scholten, head of a 40-member mission of the European Parliament said the vote was conducted in an "exemplary manner and meets international standards".





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