April 25, 2009 in Nation/World

Winning party lacks two-thirds majority


South African elections results released today show the African National Congress might have fallen short of winning its cherished two-thirds parliamentary majority. But the tally affirmed the ruling party’s overall victory and set the stage for the controversial Jacob Zuma to rise to the presidency.

Zuma’s supporters have been celebrating since shortly after the voting ended on Wednesday as his party’s victory wasn’t seriously in doubt.

The ANC views Zuma as the first leader who can energize voters since the legendary Nelson Mandela. But others say Zuma is too beholden to unions and leftists, and will not be able to fulfill his promises of creating jobs and a stronger social safety net.

The nearly complete voting results show that more than 77 percent of the country’s 23 million registered voters cast ballots. With 11.6 million votes counted, the ANC had 66.03 percent. That gives the ANC a clear parliamentary majority, but appears short of its goal of winning a two-thirds of the vote or 66.6 percent. The ANC needs to keep its two-thirds majority to enact major budgetary plans or legislation unchallenged, or to change the constitution.

Asuncion, Paraguay

President seeks forgiveness

President Fernando Lugo asked for forgiveness Friday for a paternity scandal in which three women claim the former Roman Catholic bishop fathered their children.

Reading to reporters from a written statement, Lugo acknowledged “personal errors” and portrayed himself as a “father who is prepared to share his love and care.”

But Lugo, who has acknowledged fathering a 2-year-old boy born to a former parishioner, did not recognize the two children involved in two other paternity claims.

“I am a human being, and therefore nothing is foreign to me,” Lugo said. “Asking forgiveness for these circumstances, I want to stress that my version will always be the truth.”

From wire reports

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