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Vol 53 No 15

Published 19th July 2012

South Africa

A diplomatic coup in Addis

Just hours before voting began for the new chairperson of the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa on 15 July, veteran diplomats were predicting a repeat of the deadlock that had happened at the January summit. Their view was that South Africa’s challenger, Nkosazani Dlamini-Zuma, would have enough votes to prevent the incumbent, Jean Ping of Gabon, from winning the necessary two-thirds victory but could not win herself. The dreaded result would be protracted stalemate and a poisonous Francophone-Anglophone split in the Union. And yet, she eventually triumphed with 37 votes from the 51 eligible member states. South Africa’s determined lobbying had paid off.

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