Coalition Emerges as New South African Parliament Convenes

Coalition Emerges as New South African Parliament Convenes
Above: House of Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa. Image copyright: Frédéric Soltan/Contributor/Corbis News via Getty Images

The Facts

  • On Friday, South Africa's African National Congress (ANC) announced an agreement to form a coalition government with its main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) after losing its 30-year parliamentary majority in a recent election.

  • The coalition marks a historic shift in South African politics, which has never had a national-level coalition government. The ANC has been in power since the end of the nation's white-ruled Nationalist Party in 1994.

The Spin

Narrative A

This coalition should mark the start of a fruitful new chapter in South Africa's history. By moving beyond divisive party politics, the government can focus on collaboration and problem-solving. This coalition will bring previously politically and racially divided parties together to better tackle the issues facing the country, and will also bring in more international investment and economic stability.

Narrative B

This coalition will likely fail. The participating parties have numerous incompatibilities, public skepticism and distrust in the government are high, and the differing ideologies of the parties leaves the coalition ripe for leadership conflicts, internal divisions, and policy paralysis. The formation of this alliance has been shaky, and the future is uncharted and unknown.

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