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South Africa’s IFP May Join ANC Government If Opposition Pact Fails

(Bloomberg) -- South Africa’s opposition Inkatha Freedom Party said it would consider forming a government with the African National Congress should the ruling party fail to win an outright majority in elections next month.

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The IFP won’t undermine voters if they “compel” it to work with the ANC, party leader Velenkosini Hlabisa said on a conference call with Eurasia Group on Tuesday. The country’s fourth-largest party is still committed to a pre-election opposition pact including the official opposition Democratic Alliance, but is aware that the group may not raise enough support to form a government, he said.

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If the so-called Multi-Party Charter fails to win more than 50% of the vote, “we cannot allow the country to be at a standstill,” Hlabisa said. “Should circumstances compel that we go the route of a government of national unity the IFP will not object.”

Polls predict that the ANC could lose the outright majority it has enjoyed for 30 years and may have to rely on smaller opposition parties to form a government.

Hlabisa touted a government of national unity as an alternative to a coalition government with the ANC, saying the model allowed for “checks and balances” to be in place. A government of national unity governed the first 10 years of South Africa’s transition from Apartheid to democracy from 1994 to 2004.

The DA has ruled out of a government of national unity, though it also signaled that it would abandon the Multi-Party Charter and consider a coalition with the ANC under certain conditions. The ANC has so far refused to entertain coalition talks but has suggested that a government of national unity may be a more stable form of governance.

The IFP has seen a resurgence of support the KwaZulu-Natal province. The ANC has conceded that it may lose control of the second-most populous province to the IFP.

(Corrects second paragraph of story published on April 2 to show conference call was hosted by Eurasia Group.)

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