South Africa's ruling ANC chooses Cyril Ramaphosa to replace President Zuma

President of South Africa Zuma gestures as he speaks to Duarte Dr Mkhize and Deputy President of South Africa Ramaphosa during the 54th National Conference of the ruling African National Congress at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg

The ruling Africa National Congress (ANC) selected Cyril Ramaphosa, now deputy president, over President Zuma's ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

The ANC's new leader is likely to become South Africa's next president, as the party's candidate in the presidential election in 2019.

Zuma's presidency has been plagued by series of scandals and corruption allegations since 2009 when he first became the president, which has also caused a rift within the party and tainted the party's image home and overseas.

The losing candidate, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, received 2 261 votes.

Media reports earlier said the announcement had been delayed after Ms Dlamini-Zuma's camp had demanded a recount.

"In the short term, Ramaphosa's election will boost investors' confidence and may even prevent a further downgrade to junk status, but if he wants to gain confidence in the long run, he will have to take some drastic steps", he said.

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Thus, Ramaphosa has a strong chance of being the next South African president. Thousands of raucous Ramaphosa supporters sang and chanted in the conference hall as backers of the defeated candidate sat silent and stony-faced.

His opponent echoed her former husband's call for "radical economic transformation" to redistribute wealth to the black majority, a move that had filled the business community in the country with dread.

Despite being part of Zuma's administration, the 65-year-old Mr Ramaphosa has promoted himself recently as a reformer who will steer South Africa away from the scandals that have bedevilled the ANC.

Ramaphosa is a businessman and former trade union leader, and also one of South Africa's richest men. "Before today we said Dlamini-Zuma could emerge as a victor".

The leadership battle caused fierce political infighting, raising fears the party could split before the 2019 election. Keeping the ANC together has been a key talking point at the gathering.

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