South Africa’s ruling ANC was on Saturday declared winner of general elections, handing it a sixth straight term in the post-apartheid era.
The African National Congress won a healthy majority with 57.5 percent or 230 out of the 400 parliamentary seats.
But that still represented 19 seats fewer than in 2014.
The official results, as declared by the electoral commission, were, therefore, the ANC’s poorest ever showing in its long electoral run, which started in 1994, when Nelson Mandela led it to victory in the first multi-racial polls.
The party has been battling corruption scandals, sluggish economic growth, record unemployment and poverty issue its leader Cyril Ramaphosa, a veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle, has promised to tackle.
But its poor electoral showing could hamper efforts to revive the flagging economy and fight corruption.
Businessman Ramaphosa, 66, took over last year when the ANC forced then-president Jacob Zuma to resign after nine years dominated by graft allegations and economic decline.
The ANC’s closest rival, the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), trailed at a distant 20.7 percent or 84 seats.
The radical left Economic Freedom Fighters, founded six years ago by former ANC youth leader Julius Malema, came third with 10.79 percent. But that was four percentage points more than in 2014 and means a jump from 25 to and 44 parliamentary seats.