Cyril Ramaphosa has been elected president of South Africa by a parliamentary vote less than 16 hours after the resignation of his rival Jacob Zuma, following days of defiant refusal to leave office.

Ramaphosa – who, as deputy president, became interim leader immediately after Zuma’s late-night resignation on Wednesday – is being sworn in as head of state by South Africa’s chief justice in Cape Town.

The ruling African National Congress has a substantial majority in parliament and the vote is effectively a formality. Though deeply divided, the ANC has already closed ranks after the crisis of recent days and has rallied around Ramaphosa, 65.

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Ramaphosa, the ANC’s leader, now faces the daunting task of reviving Africa’s most industrialised economy following nine-years of Zuma’s rule that was characterised by stagnant growth, graft allegations and sliding support for the ruling party.

Zuma’s exit has been greeted with relief across South African civil society — and anger that it did not come sooner given the scandals and allegations of endemic graft in the state that dogged his presidency.


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