South African elections set for May 8: president
South Africa will go to polls on May 8, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Thursday as he set out his stall for the election in a state-of-the-nation address focused on reviving the economy.
“I have engaged with the Independent Electoral Commission… and intend to proclaim the 8th of May 2019 as the date of the election,” Ramaphosa told parliament.
Ramaphosa has struggled to produce concrete results since taking over, with growth less than one percent last year and unemployment stubbornly high at more than 27 percent.
An ongoing commission into graft has also heard blow-by-blow details of how bribes were paid to government and party officials under his predecessor Jacob Zuma, including senior cabinet ministers now serving in Ramaphosa’s government.
Ramaphosa is under pressure to move against the implicated officials, but he must also strive for party unity through the election, in which the ruling ANC party will face the centralist Democratic Alliance and radical left Economic Freedom Fighters party.
Despite dipping in the polls, the ANC is tipped to win the parliamentary election with around 60 percent of the vote.