The opposition uMkhonto weSizwe is demanding that the country’s top court order a rerun of the May 29 vote FILE PHOTO: Former South African President Jacob Zuma greets supporters when arriving at Puma Stadium on May 26, 2024 in Emalahleni, South Africa. © Per-Anders Pettersson / Getty Images

South African opposition party uMkhonto weSizwe (MK), which finished third in elections held last month, has filed a legal challenge seeking to prevent parliament from holding its first scheduled sitting on Friday to elect the country’s next president.

The decision comes in response to allegations that the May 29 National Assembly and provincial elections were marred by fraud, the MK party, led by former South African president Jacob Zuma, announced on Tuesday.

The MK, a left-wing opposition formed late last year, gained popularity after Zuma defected from the ruling African National Congress (ANC). The party won 15% of the vote in the recent elections, with 58 seats, even beating the more established radical Economic Freedom Fighters, which received 9%, equating to 39 seats. The center-right Democratic Alliance, the second-largest opposition group, received 22% of the vote and won 87 seats.

According to results announced by South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the ANC obtained 40.18% of the vote. The ruling coalition won just 159 seats in the 400-seat parliament, down from 230 in the previous election, losing its majority for the first time since taking power in 1994 after Apartheid ended.

Despite losing its majority, the ANC remains the country’s largest party and has been negotiating with a wide range of opposition groups about the possibility of forming a national unity government.

However, Zuma’s MK has refused to engage in negotiations with the ANC, the ruling party’s spokesperson, Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri, told reporters last week.

An agreement must be reached to enable the new National Assembly, which is due to convene on Friday for lawmakers to swear the oath of office, to elect their speaker, deputy speaker, and the next South African leader.

The MK declared in a statement on Monday that none of its 58 newly elected lawmakers will attend the sitting until the courts have fully addressed the complaints of “election fraud and rigging.”

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“Legally, the absence of MK Party members will prevent achieving the composition of the 350 members required to lawfully constitute the National Assembly, further invalidating the session which aims to appoint a President and therefore the government of the country,” the party stated.

The MK had previously filed complaints with the IEC, alleging widespread irregularities in the national elections. The electoral commission said it has addressed all objections, declaring the election free and fair.

In its legal application, the group is demanding that the Constitutional Court overturn the IEC’s decision and order a re-run of elections within three months. (RT)