South Africa’s opposition leader Steenhuisen gets re-elected.

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John Steenhuisen was re-elected as Democratic Alliance party leader on Sunday, putting him in a prominent position as the party prepares to confront the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa’s general election next year.

The 47-year-old defeated Mpho Phalatse, the former mayor of Johannesburg and the only other Black leader in the Democratic Alliance’s history, to win 83% of the vote at the party’s national convention in Johannesburg.

Steenhuisen will lead the Democratic Alliance for the next three years; the party has long been popular among white voters.

The DA will prioritize this issue in the months leading up to the election next year. Steenhuisen said in his victory speech that cooperation between the African National Congress and the Economic Freedom Fighters must be prevented.

2003 saw the formation of the Democratic Alliance as a consequence of a split among parties that had previously backed the apartheid system. With Mmusi Maimane as its first Black leader, the party became the official opposition after the 2004 general elections and steadily gained support until the 2019 national election.

The party has been able to maintain control of the Western Cape province, and in the municipal elections of 2021, it was able to create coalition administrations in three major South African cities, winning the mayorships in each.

Since 2021, all three DA mayoral candidates have lost, demonstrating the difficulties of forging coalitions. Steenhuisen acknowledged that prior coalitions had been “unstable,” and he stated his ambition to lead a pre-election opposition “Moonshot Pact” composed of opposition parties and civil groups.

In the 2021 elections, the ruling ANC earned less than 50% of the vote for the first time in democratic history. With the assistance of the EEF, the DA’s vote share fell from 24.6% to 20%.

 

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