Cyril Ramaphosa elected South Africa's new president

Cyril Ramaphosa elected South Africa's new president
From CBC - February 15, 2018

Cyril Ramaphosa has been elected as South Africa'spresident just hoursafter the country's scandal-plagued leader Jacob Zuma resigned on Wednesday.

Deputy president since 2014, Ramaphosa has been thecountry's dominant politician since he replaced Zuma as leaderof the ruling African National Congress in December.

But he had to strike a fine balance between applyingpressure onZuma, a 75-year-old anti-apartheid veteran, and
affording him a dignified exit.

On Wednesday,Zumaheeded theorders of the ANCto end to his nineyears in power. The ANC, which replaced Zuma as party leader in December with then Deputy President Ramaphosa, ordered him to step down on Tuesday.

When Zumafailed to resign, it announced it would back an opposition motion in parliament to force him out.

Ramaphosa, 65, has put the focus on rooting out corruptionand revitalizing economic growth.

Dealmaker for decades

Ramaphosa's deal-making skills have been apparent fordecades.

Nelson Mandela turned to the former trade union leader whenhe needed a tenacious negotiator to lead talks to end apartheid.The successful conclusion of those talks paved the way forMandela to sweep to power in 1994 as head of the victorious ANC after South Africa's first democratic vote.

Mandela wanted Ramaphosa to be his heir but was pressuredinto picking Thabo Mbeki by a group of ANC leaders who hadfought apartheid from exile.

It has taken more than two decades for Ramaphosa to getanother chance to run the country.

"Ramaphosa's ambition for the presidency has been clearthroughouthis adult life. He was quite clearly wounded by
his marginalization in the Mbeki period," said Anthony Butler, apolitics professor who has written a biography of Ramaphosa.

Major challenges ahead

Helped draft constitution

'Cyril has got to be wiser'


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