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Turbulence in South Africa's townships clouds ANC's re-election drive

Published on May 4, 2014 4:29 PM
Election posters are seen on a shack in Cape Town's Khayelitsha township on May 2, 2014, as South Africa gears up for elections. Despite increasing violent protests by throngs of poor youth demanding better government services, the ruling ANC is expected to maintain a two-thirds majority at Wednesday's vote. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

ENNERDALE, South Africa (REUTERS) - In many countries, protesters throwing rocks, torching government buildings and blocking roads with burning tyres on an almost daily basis would strike fear into the ruling party in the run-up to an election.

In South Africa, such is the dominance of the African National Congress (ANC) that polls suggest it will maintain its near-two-thirds majority on May 7, even as the anger of young people demanding jobs and better services continues to swell.

The ANC's legacy as the party that freed millions of blacks from the shackles of white-minority rule ensures it maintains a fiercely loyal support base - and even for its rock-throwing detractors, voting against it remains a step too far.

Rather than backing the Democratic Alliance, the main opposition party that is still seen as the political home of privileged whites, or the new ultra-leftist Economic Freedom Fighters, many disenchanted ANC supporters are choosing simply not to vote.

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