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Counting under way in South Africa's crucial election

Votes are being counted after what is seen as South Africa's most closely fought elections since the African National Congress (ANC) came to power 30 years ago.
 
Long lines snaked outside polling stations across the country.
 
One electoral official in Johannesburg told the BBC the queues were reminiscent of the historic 1994 election, when black people could vote for the first time, and which saw Nelson Mandela become president.
 
Many people were still waiting to vote when polls officially closed, but the electoral commission said they would all be allowed to cast their ballots. 
 
The first results will start to trickle in on Thursday morning and final results are expected over the weekend. 
 
The ANC that ended apartheid has lost support over corruption, high levels of crime, economic woes and unemployment.
 
It may be forced to enter into a coalition with one or more opposition parties.
 
A record 70 parties are participating, with the second biggest likely to be the Democratic Alliance.
 
Two other major parties, including that of former President Jacob Zuma, are hoping to make inroads.
 
Mr. Zuma is barred from running for parliament because of a contempt of court conviction, but his name was on the ballot paper.


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