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ANC handily wins South African elections

By Greg Botelho, CNN
updated 9:52 PM EDT, Fri May 9, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Electoral commission reports just over 73% turnout
  • ANC garners 62.2% of the vote; the closest contender gets 22.%
  • Still, the ANC's overall percentage is less than it got in 2009
  • The party of Nelson Mandela has been dogged by scandals

(CNN) -- The African National Congress has won South Africa's general election, holding on to power despite economic woes and corruption allegations that some felt might weaken its grip.

Some 62.2% of votes cast went to the ANC, according to provisional results from the country's electoral commission as of Saturday morning. The Democratic Alliance placed a distant second with 22.2% of the vote, while four other parties split the rest.

The millions of voters who participated in Wednesday's elections were charged with electing 400 members of Parliament, as well as representatives in new legislatures in South Africa's nine provinces, according to the South African Press Association.

The electoral commission reported just over 73% turnout among the nation's 25 million registered voters.

Earlier, South Africa's Government Communication and Information System called the elections "a resounding success."

The result represents an expected victory for the party of Nelson Mandela, who died last December. But it's not necessarily a total one, considering that the ANC garnered a lower portion of the overall vote from the 65.9% it won in 2009.

The ANC, which has governed for the past 20 years, still enjoys widespread support after the defeat of the apartheid system and the beginning of democracy in South Africa.

But its popularity and that of President Jacob Zuma have been hit by various issues, including a scandal centered in Zuma's rural homestead in Nkandla, in the province of KwaZulu Natal. The state watchdog has alleged that more than $20 million of public money was misused in improvements to the sprawling complex. Zuma has denied any wrongdoing.

CNN's Jethro Mullen, Robyn Curnow and Lonzo Cook contributed to this report.

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