Johannesburg – Support for South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC), in power since 1994, has dipped below 50 percent ahead of general elections next year, according to a new poll.
The party once led by Nelson Mandela would likely win 45 percent of the vote next year, against 31 percent for the Democratic Alliance (DA), the leading opposition party, according to a poll by the Social Research Foundation (SRF).
Such a result could see the ruling party lose its overall majority in parliament.
“The data reveals that ANC support levels appear to have slipped somewhat,” SRF said in a report.
Support for the ANC has fallen from 52 percent in March according to the poll the poll, based on interviews with more than 1,400 “geographically and demographically” representative registered voters carried out in October.
Backing of the DA has risen from 24 percent over the same period.
If the elections were tomorrow, South Africa’s third largest party, the leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) would garner about 9 percent of preferences, according to the South African think-tank’s survey.
Earlier this week, South Africa’s electoral commission said the vote will be held between May and August next year.
The image of ANC has been fractured, and stained by corruption, cronyism and a lacklustre economic record.
The party has never won less than 50 percent of the vote in a national election since the advent of democracy three decades ago.
But party membership has dropped by more than 30 percent in the last five years, according to an organisational report presented at the party’s conference in December.
The DA, a liberal party, in July announced a coalition with six smaller groups in an attempt to dislodge the ANC from power.
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