Cyril Ramaphosa, re-elected president of South Africa

South Africa’s parliament has re-elected Cyril Ramaphosa as the country’s president following a historic coalition deal between the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and opposition parties.

The new national unity government combines Ramaphosa’s ANC, the centre-right Democratic Alliance (DA) and smaller parties.

The agreement was reached on a day of high political drama, with South Africa’s National Assembly meeting late into the night on Friday to vote to confirm who will be in power in the new administration.

The deal was earlier reached following weeks of speculation over who the ANC would partner with after losing its parliamentary majority for the first time in 30 years in last month’s election.

It won 40% of the vote, while the DA came in second with 22%.

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula called the coalition agreement a “remarkable step”.

It meant Ramaphosa, who replaced Jacob Zuma as president and leader of the ANC after a bitter power struggle in 2018, was able to retain power.

The ANC had always won more than 50% of the vote since the country’s first democratic elections in 1994, in which Nelson Mandela became president.

However, support for the party has been falling significantly due to anger over high levels of corruption, unemployment and crime.

An alliance between the centre-right DA and the ANC is unprecedented as the two parties have been rivals for decades.

Under Nelson Mandela, the ANC led the campaign against the racist apartheid system in 1994 and won the country’s first democratic elections.

Critics of the DA have accused it of trying to protect the economic privileges that the country’s white minority accrued during apartheid, a charge the party denies.

DA leader John Steenhuisen addressed lawmakers on Friday night in Cape Town and said: “Today is a historic day for our country and I believe it is the beginning of a new chapter.”

The National Assembly also swore in an ANC president, while the position of vice president fell to the DA.

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