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Archive for Friday, April 24, 2009

Backers of Zuma celebrate the vote

April 24, 2009

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— South Africa’s governing party set off fireworks and popped fizzy bottles of champagne Thursday as ballots were counted in the country’s latest election. ANC chief Jacob Zuma said he was only thanking campaign workers — but the celebration left little doubt about his ascension to the presidency.

Zuma reminded several thousand supporters gathered outside his party’s downtown Johannesburg headquarters that the tally was still going on — a technical point that hardly affected the party mood.

But he noted with relish that skeptics who had claimed his African National Congress party wouldn’t get 60 percent of the parliamentary vote now “are saying 70.”

With the all-but-official victory, Zuma takes on a heavy responsibility — meeting expectations for change among South Africa’s impoverished black majority.

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