Three big elections in the space of a month: Indonesia, then India, and now South Africa, the last to commence voting but the first to report results. This was the country's fourth post-apartheid election, and widely expected to be the most interesting, but the outcome showed very little change. The ruling African National Congress (ANC) was returned with 65.9% of the vote, down just 3.8% on its 2004 vote. Adam Carr as usual has the figures: That will give it 265 of the 400 seats (down 13); the Democratic Alliance, in second place, has just 67 (up 17). The Congress of the People, a breakaway from the ANC formed with high expectations last year, faded to win just 7.4% of the vote and 30 seats.

ANC leader Jacob Zuma will be the new president. Constitutionally, South Africa is unusual, having an executive president and no prime minister, but also no strict separation between legislature and executive: the president is elected by parliament, which functions more or less in Westminster fashion. The president can be thought of as a sort of super-John Howard, who has taken over the functions and title of the head of state.