Heatstroke kills 33 Indian polling staff on last voting day: state election chief

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After South Africa’s historic elections, what is the country’s global role in issues such as the Gaza war?

CAPE TOWN, South Africa: It was a historic day for South Africa. The political party that ended the era of racial segregation under apartheid and raised global hopes with a vibrant new democracy has lost three decades of power, according to election results Saturday.

For the first time, the African National Congress must form a coalition to govern South Africa. South Africa’s role on the world stage is growing as it sues Israel over its actions in Gaza and assumes the presidency of the G20 at the end of the year.
Here’s what could be in store for a leading voice in the developing world after the ANC lost its dominance at home.
Challenge to Israel over Gaza
South Africa has become the most visible critic of Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip, accusing the country of genocide in proceedings before the International Court of Justice, the UN’s highest court.
This process is being driven largely by the ANC, which has long identified with the Palestinian cause and sees uncomfortable parallels in Gaza and the occupied West Bank with the distant “homelands” that the former white-controlled government created for the black population of South Africa under the brutal apartheid system.
Israel vehemently denies the genocide allegations. The ANC’s loss of its parliamentary majority in this week’s elections made headlines in Israel.
The case before the ICJ could drag on for years, meaning it will go to a new South African coalition government. The ANC is likely to form a governing coalition with one or more of South Africa’s three main opposition parties – the centrist Democratic Alliance, the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters and former President Jacob Zuma’s populist new MK Party.
The Democratic Alliance, which received around 21 percent of the vote, said it did not agree with the accusation of genocide against Israel and would prefer to see South Africa work towards a mediated solution to the war between Israel and Hamas. The EFF is considered at least as pro-Palestinian as the ANC and has also accused Israel of genocide. The position of the MK party, which was founded late last year, is unclear.
G20 presidency is approaching
South Africa has long been considered the leading representative of the African continent in the world. On December 1, the country will assume the important presidency of the Group of 20 leading industrialized and developing countries. South Africa takes over from Brazil, which is using its presidency to call for greater representation of developing countries on the world stage.
South Africa is the only African country in the G20. The ANC and its new governing partner(s) must look beyond South African politics and find a common position on pressing global issues such as climate change, conflict and reform of international financial institutions.
“Regardless of the election outcome, deeply rooted elements of South Africa’s foreign policy will remain, such as advocacy for Palestinian rights and calls for reform of international institutions to better reflect the priorities of African states,” Michelle Gavin wrote last month for the Council on Foreign Relations.
And then there is Russia
South Africa’s diplomacy under the ANC has attracted attention for its historic pro-Moscow stance, which has continued even after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine more than two years ago. While the United States and others in the West have long recognized the ANC’s ties to Russia – dating back to the fight against apartheid – U.S.-South African relations were seriously strained when the ANC government allowed Russian and Chinese warships to conduct exercises off its coast in early 2023.
The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, sharply criticized the ANC’s relationship with Russia, accusing it of betraying its claimed stance of non-alignment and neutrality with regard to the war in Ukraine and the general tensions between Russia and the West.
Gavin said an “unstable” coalition government could damage South Africa as a gateway for foreign investors and “push the country even closer to Russia and China”.

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