South African President Cyril Ramaphosa leads ruling African National Congress to victory but a drop in its share of the vote underlines the challenge he faces restoring confidence in his party.
The governing African National Congress is ahead as ballot count continues in an election that has seen a low turnout.
The vote is seen as the toughest test yet for the governing African National Congress (ANC) party, 25 years after it swept to power at the end of white minority rule.
The African National Congress, the party of Nelson Mandela, which has been in power since 1994, is likely to win a majority but will face a difficult challenge to match the 62 percent of the vote that it won in the previous election five years ago.
Three opinion polls in recent weeks show the ANC's support ranging between 51 and 61 percent, compared with the 62 percent it won in 2014.
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The victory puts Ramaphosa in line to succeed President Jacob Zuma, whose reign has been plagued by corruption scandals and economic slowdown.
The vote is a pivotal moment in the ANC's history since South Africa ended apartheid and introduced black-majority rule under Nelson Mandela's leadership 23 years ago.
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