Nation waits for election of new President

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Pretoria - There's an air of excitement as the country awaits the election of the new President of the Republic by members of the National Assembly in Parliament tomorrow.

The newly elected President will become President-elect until he is sworn in on Saturday, 9 May, at a prestigious event lined up at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Parliament's National Assembly (NA) is set to meet for the first time to swear in its 400 new members tomorrow, elect its Presiding Officers and elect the President of the Republic.

At the country's general elections two weeks ago, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) won a landslide victory, which puts its presidential candidate, Jacob Zuma, as a sure bet to be elected as the next President of the country.

Government spokesperson Themba Maseko said in a statement, that current President Kgalema Motlanthe, will remain President of the Republic until the new President assumes office on 9 May.

"In terms of Section 87 of the Constitution, the President cannot be a Member of Parliament and it is for this reason that President Motlanthe will not be sworn in as a Member of Parliament when all other new members are sworn in tomorrow," he said.

The term of office of the outgoing Cabinet comes to an end when the newly elected President assumes offices on 9 May.

The President is expected to appoint and announce his new Cabinet by Sunday, 10 May.

Mr Maseko said the newly appointed members of Cabinet would be sworn in as Ministers and Deputy Ministers on Monday, 11 May, in Pretoria.

Meanwhile, Government says the preparations for the inauguration of the incoming President were proceeding according to plan and about 5 000 dignitaries are expected to attend the ceremony.

About 30 000 people are expected to attend and witness the inauguration at the South Lawns of the Union Buildings.