The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Two historic elections

Over the weekend, Mexico and South Africa made history.

In South Africa, voters turfed out the African National Congress Party, which had held a majority of seats since the end of Apartheid in 1994:

Final results from Wednesday’s seismic South Africa elections have confirmed that the African National Congress (ANC) party has lost its majority for the first time in 30 years of full democracy, firing the starting gun on unprecedented coalition talks.

The ANC, which led the fight to free South Africa from apartheid, won just 159 seats in the 400-member national assembly on a vote share of just over 40%. High unemployment, power cuts, violent crime and crumbling infrastructure have contributed to a haemorrhaging of support for the former liberation movement.

The pro-business Democratic Alliance (DA) won 87 seats, uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) – a new party led by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s bitter rival, the former president Jacob Zuma – took 58, and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a Marxist-Leninist party led by the ousted ANC youth leader Julius Malema, took 39.

Voters cited corruption and a need for new leadership as reasons for voting against the party of Nelson Mandela.

And yesterday, Mexicans elected their first female president:

Claudia Sheinbaum was elected Mexico’s first female president in a landslide on Sunday, an official quick count of votes showed, cementing the dominance of the left-leaning Morena movement that over the past six years has upended the country’s political establishment.

Her victory stunned an opposition that’s accused Morena of weakening the country’s democratic institutions.

The former Mexico City mayor led with more than 58 percent of the vote, according to the count released by the National Electoral Institute. Her triumph ensures another six years in power for Morena, founded 13 years ago by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a charismatic leader who has emphasized helping the poor.

Women in this traditionally macho country didn’t win the right to vote until 1953, three decades after their American counterparts. But with the adoption of gender quotas and a gender-parity law during Mexico’s transition from a one-party state to democracy, women now hold half of the seats in Congress and nearly one-third of the governorships.

The US eliminated race as a bar to voting in 1868, and elected its first Black president in 2008. At that rate we should elect our first female president in 2060, years after every other OECD country has done so. And somehow we think ourselves more politically sophisticated than our neighbor to the south. Fascinating.

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