JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) on Wednesday called for South Africa’s parliament to be dissolved and a national election to be held, one day after its no-confidence motion in President Jacob Zuma was defeated.
Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said the party would bring the motion to dissolve parliament to the assembly on Thursday and request that it be debated as soon as possible.
Zuma, who has been dogged by accusations of corruption and mismanaging the economy, survived an attempt in parliament to force him from office on Tuesday. But he was left politically wounded after some members of his ruling African National Congress (ANC) party voted with the opposition.
Maimane told a news conference in Cape Town that the result showed the ANC was divided and the country needed “a new beginning”.
“The ANC may have won in the no-confidence motion in parliament yesterday, but it has lost the confidence of the country,” Maimane said.
“We believe the voters should now have the chance to express their opinion about the conduct of the ANC in defending Jacob Zuma. In short, we believe that parliament should be dissolved now so that the country can hold an early election.”
Zuma’s term as South Africa’s president is due to run until 2019, when an election is scheduled.
It was not clear whether the motion would be allowed and parliamentary officials could not be reached for comment.
Wednesday is a public holiday in South Africa and government offices and financial markets were closed.
The rand ZAR=D3 weakened nearly 1.5 percent immediately after the news of Zuma’s victory, which financial markets saw as a negative.
Zuma, who has held power since 2009, has now survived nine no-confidence votes despite a record in office marred by allegations of sleaze and influence-peddling. He hailed his win as a victory for the ANC.
Reporting by James Macharia; Editing by Angus MacSwan