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President Ramaphosa faces no-confidence vote after request by small party

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The speaker of South Africa’s lower house of parliament has authorised a vote on a motion of no-confidence in President Cyril Ramaphosa, a parliamentary official said on Thursday.

The request for the vote was made by a small political party, the African Transformation Movement (ATM), which has only two seats in the 400-member National Assembly.

This means the motion has little chance of succeeding.

“There had been a request by the ATM for a motion of no-confidence in the president that came through several months ago.

“The speaker has approved that request, and our recommendation is that it be dealt with next Thursday,” the official told the National Assembly’s programming committee.

A spokeswoman for the parliamentary caucus of the governing African National Congress (ANC) party, which Ramaphosa leads, declined to comment.

The ANC has 230 seats in the National Assembly.

Ramaphosa’s predecessor as head of state, Jacob Zuma, survived many no-confidence votes before he was ousted by Ramaphosa’s allies in the ANC in February 2018.

According to the constitution, a motion of no confidence in the president needs to be supported by a simple majority or at least 201 lawmakers in the National Assembly to pass.

The constitution also makes provision for the removal of a sitting president for serious violations of law, misconduct or an inability to perform the functions of the office, but this requires a two-thirds majority in the assembly.

The ATM’s leader was not immediately available to say why the request for the no-confidence vote had been made.

The largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, said it did not support the ATM motion.

The Economic Freedom Fighters, the second-largest opposition group, said it would respond later.

Ramaphosa’s spokesman did not answer his phone.

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