Zuma’s party asks court to block sitting of new South African Parliament

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South Africa’s third largest political party has asked the nation’s top court to block the sitting of the newly elected parliament later this week, saying the May 29 election was marred by fraud.

The National Assembly is scheduled to meet Friday for lawmakers to be sworn in to office and to elect a new speaker, deputy speaker, and president.

However, the uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MK), which finished third in the recent elections, has filed legal papers asking South Africa’s Constitutional Court to dismiss the electoral commission’s decision to declare the polls free and fair.

MK, which is led by former South African President Jacob Zuma, alleged there were irregularities in the voting and has asked for a new election.

The party has not offered public evidence of the alleged fraud, and the commission said it has dealt with the allegations.

Ongama Mtimka, a political analyst and lecturer at Nelson Mandela University, believes that MK wants to dramatize the election for negotiation leverage.

“It is only in an environment of panic that political accommodation would be considered,” he said.

The May elections ended the African National Congress’ 30-year streak of winning outright majorities in parliament. The ANC is now seeking partners with other parties.

Zuma once led the ANC but fell from power amid persistent corruption scandals. He remains popular in his hometown province, KwaZulu-Natal, and led MK to its surprisingly strong finish in the recent elections.

“My view is that it’s not going to change anything that happens between now and Friday,” said Lawson Naidoo about MK’s court application. Naidoo is the executive secretary of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution.