South Africa and India form Coalition Governments

President of the African National Congress (ANC) Cyril Ramaphosa sworn in as member of parliament during the first sitting of the New South African Parliament in Cape Town, June 14, 2024.

South Africa’s African National Congress party reached an agreement with the nation’s largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), to form the nation’s first coalition government since the end of apartheid 30 years ago. The agreement will allow ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa to remain president but marks an end to three decades of outright ANC dominance in the South African government.

The ANC lost its parliamentary majority for the first time in the May 29 elections, garnering roughly 40 percent of the vote, with the center-right DA party getting about 21 percent. The governing agreement was formally announced in a televised address by DA party leader John Steenhuisen. He said the agreement came after two weeks of “intense but very mature negotiations,” and it “charts a new course for our nation.”

“At the heart of this government of national unity statement is a shared respect and defense of our Constitution and the rule of law including the bill of rights in its entirety,” Steenhuisen said.

Two smaller parties, the socially conservative Inkatha Freedom Party and the right-wing Patriotic Alliance, will also take part in the new government.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures during a swearing-in ceremony at the presidential palace in New Delhi, June 9, 2024.

India has also formed a Coalition government. India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fell well short of the majority to form a government on its own. The BJP won 240 of the 543 seats in the lower house of parliament in the election. The alliance it leads won a total of 293 seats, crossing the majority mark of 272 seats.

The leaders of the allied parties, Chandrababu Naidu of Telugu Desam and Nitish Kumar of the Janata Dal, are veteran politicians who are known to have views that could be at odds with the BJP and its agenda. “Modi will need to moderate his positions on certain ideological issues that do not align with the views of his allies … who are past masters in coalition politics,” said Basu of Society for Policy Studies.

“These leaders … are bound to have their pound of flesh although they may not be vocal about their differences unless they reach a stand-off point.”