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After South Africa’s historic elections, what now about its global role on issues such as the war in Gaza?

CAPE TOWN, South Africa: It was a historic day for South Africa. The political party that ended the racially divisive era of apartheid and raised global hopes with a vibrant new democracy has lost its three-decade grip on power, according to Saturday’s election results.

For the first time, the African National Congress will have to form a coalition to govern South Africa, whose role on the global stage is growing as it takes Israel to court over its actions in Gaza and belatedly assumes the presidency of the Group of 20 countries. this year.
Here’s what a leading voice might have in store for the developing world after the ANC loses its dominance at home.
Challenging Israel over Gaza
South Africa has become the most visible critic of Israel’s actions in Gaza, accusing it of genocide in a case before the International Court of Justice, the United Nations’ highest court.
The case has been largely driven by the ANC, which has long identified with the Palestinian cause and sees uneasy parallels in Gaza and the occupied West Bank with the distant “homelands” created for black South Africa by the previous white-controlled government under the brutal apartheid system.
Israel vehemently denies accusations of genocide. The ANC’s loss of its parliamentary majority in this week’s elections made headlines in Israel.
The case at the world court could go on for years, meaning a new South African coalition government will inherit it. The ANC will likely strike a governing deal 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 new populist MK party.
The Democratic Alliance, which received about 21% of the vote, said it disagreed with the genocide charge against Israel and would prefer to see South Africa push for a mediated solution in the Israel-Hamas war. 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, formed late last year, is unclear.
The G20 presidency is upon us
South Africa has long been considered one of the main representatives of the African continent in the world and on December 1 it will assume the senior presidency of the Group of 20 nations, i.e. the 20 main rich and developing countries. South Africa will take over from Brazil, which is using its presidency to push for greater representation of developing nations on the global stage.
South Africa is the only African nation in the G20. The ANC and its new governing partner will need to look beyond South African politics and find a common position on pressing global issues such as climate change, conflict and reforms of international financial institutions.
“Regardless of the election result, entrenched elements of South African foreign policy will persist, such as defending Palestinian rights and calling for reforms of international institutions to better reflect the priorities of African states,” Michelle Gavin wrote last month for the Council for foreign relations.
And then there is Russia
South Africa’s diplomacy under the ANC has attracted attention for its historic pro-Moscow stance that continued after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine more than two years ago. While the United States and other Western countries have long recognized the ANC’s ties to Russia – which date back to the anti-apartheid struggle – US-South African relations were seriously strained when the ANC government allowed warships Russian and Chinese forces to conduct exercises off its coast. costs at the beginning of 2023.
The main opposition, the Democratic Alliance, has been highly critical of the ANC over its relations with Russia, accusing it of betraying its declared position of non-alignment and neutrality over the war in Ukraine and heightened tensions between Russia and West.
Gavin suggested that an “unstable” coalition government could harm South Africa as a gateway for foreign investors and “push the country even closer to Russia and China”.

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