[QODLink]
Africa
New leader for S Africa opposition
Helen Zille wins overwhelming majority to become head of the Democratic Alliance.
Last Modified: 06 May 2007 13:33 GMT
Zille took more than three times the vote of her nearest challenger to take the leadership[AFP]

South Africa's main opposition party has elected its new leader by a strong majority at a party congress near Johannesburg.

 

Athol Trollip, DA Eastern Cape leader, took 228 votes and Joe Seremane, the party's national chairman and sole black candidate, registered 65 votes.

 

Zille has been mayor for the past year of Cap

She told congress-goers the DA would continue fighting against the ANC in her maiden speech as leader.

 

"The only idea [the ANC] have left is race… The DA must provide the political and moral leadership the country needs."

 

Coalition call

 

Zille also said the DA would be willing to build governing coalitions with like-minded parties.

 

"Our biggest challenge in this country is the politics of identity... to break away from the shackles of race"

Helen Zille, new leader of the Democratic Alliance

She first came to public attention when working as a journalist 30 years ago, exposing events behind the killing of Steve Biko, a black rights activist.

 

She later became a provincial education minister and her successive experience as Cape Town mayor has earned her respect as an administrator.

 

Her DA leadership campaign was focused on providing the organisation with appeal across South Africa's racial spectrum.

 

"Our biggest challenge in this country is the politics of identity... to break away from the shackles of race," Zille said as she announced her candidacy last month.

 

The DA, which has 57 parliamentary seats out of 400, has a very small share of the black vote.

 

Analysts say the change of leader is an opportunity for the DA to shake off its white elitist image. The ANC has regularly accused Leon of being elitist and racist.

 

Seremane, who has a political background steeped in the anti-apartheid struggle, said the party should become more representative during his leadership campaign.
Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
As nuclear age approaches eighth decade, visitors flock to historic bomb craters at New Mexico test sites.
Venezuela's president lacks the charisma and cult of personality maintained by the late Hugo Chavez.
Despite the Geneva deal, anti-government protesters in Ukraine's eastern regions don't intend to leave any time soon.
Since independence, Zimbabwe has faced food shortages, hyperinflation - and several political crises.
After a sit-in protest at Poland's parliament, lawmakers are set to raise government aid to carers of disabled youth.
join our mailing list