Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Support for South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) may drop to 59% in local elections on Wednesday from 66% in the last such vote in 2006, a survey said. The ANC is expected to storm to victory given its dominance over politics but any gains by the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) could embarrass President Jacob Zuma ahead of the ANC's main policy-setting meeting next year.

"The African National Congress remains the strongest political party in the country, although their support seems to have decreased since the 2009 general election," the polling group IPSOS said in a statement.The IPSOS survey of 2 000 people put the main opposition DA as runners up with 19%, followed by the Inkatha Freedom Party with 2%. The bulk of the remainder are undecided.

The biggest issue in the election is the quality of governance, with the ANC facing violent protests in recent years from its traditional base of poor blacks who feel the party has not done enough to provide them with running water, sanitation, schools and healthcare.Many voters have become disillusioned with the ANC, which liberated South Africa from decades of oppression and white minority rule.

Although the ANC has made some strides, since taking power 17 years ago, towards addressing infrastructure backlogs, millions of the poor still live in abject poverty. Elections are held every five years and 121 parties are fighting for 4 275 ward seats and 460 proportional representation seats.

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