South Africa’s main opposition party rallies support

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Supporters of the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party attend a final election rally in Benoni, South Africa on May 26. (AP)

JOHANNESBURG, May 27, (AP): South Africa’s main opposition party Democratic Alliance on Sunday made its final appeal to voters to help it unseat the ruling African National Congress as it concluded its campaign ahead of elections this week.
The Democratic Alliance is the biggest opposition party in South Africa and has gathered some smaller opposition parties to form a pact known as the Multi-Party Charter for South Africa, which will see the group combine their votes to challenge the ANC after the elections.
Sunday’s rally coincided with that of the smaller opposition Inkatha Freedom Party, which has the populous KwaZulu-Natal province as its stronghold and has committed to work with the main opposition.
Recent polls have put the ANC’s support at less than 50% of the national vote ahead of the election, putting it in danger of possibly losing its majority. The Democratic Alliance is also under pressure after its support declined in the last national elections and a number of its leaders left to form new parties that will be competing in the polls.
Supporters came out in the thousands Sunday in Benoni, east of Johannesburg, where the DA’s blue colored flags and party memorabilia decorated a small stadium in the town.
“Make no mistake, if DA voters stay at home, or they split the vote among many small parties on the ballot, then our country’s next chapter could be even uglier than the past,” said party leader John Steenhuisen.
“If we sit back and allow a coalition between the ANC, the (Economic Freedom Fighters) and the (uMkhonto weSizwe), aided by the sell-outs in the Patriotic Alliance, then our tomorrow will be far, far worse than yesterday. It will be doomsday for South Africa,” he said to loud applause.
A coalition between the DA and other parties including the Patriotic Alliance in the Johannesburg council after the 2021 local government elections collapsed, handing power back to an ANC-led coalition and resulting in political animosity between the two parties.

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