Monday Briefing: What’s next for South Africa

Also, India’s elections and internet in the Amazon
Morning Briefing: Asia Pacific Edition

June 3, 2024

Good morning. We’re covering elections in South Africa and India.

Plus, an isolated Amazon tribe goes online.

People sitting on chairs outside near A.N.C. posters and flags.
The African National Congress received less than 50 percent of the national vote for the first time since gaining power.  Paul Botes/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

South Africans reject the A.N.C.

The African National Congress has lost its political monopoly on South Africa. Election results on Saturday showed that the party had fallen short of winning an absolute majority for the first time since the end of apartheid in 1994.

The A.N.C. received about 40 percent of the vote, which was the largest share but a dramatic drop from the nearly 58 percent it received in the last election, in 2019. It has cost the A.N.C. — which rose to international acclaim on the shoulders of Nelson Mandela — its majority in Parliament, which elects the president, and it has two weeks to cobble together a government and elect a president.

Rival parties, however, have derided the A.N.C. as corrupt and have vowed never to form an alliance with it. A big question is whether the A.N.C. would ally with Jacob Zuma, its former leader, who resigned as president in 2018 because of corruption allegations. A new party that he helped start just six months ago won almost 15 percent of the vote.

The Democratic Alliance drew the second-largest share, nearly 22 percent. It is a potential ally for the A.N.C., but some A.N.C. members have accused the Democratic Alliance of promoting policies that would essentially take the country back to apartheid. Here’s what might happen next.

Voter frustrations: South Africans face one of the world’s highest unemployment rates, shortages of electricity and water and rampant crime. Many see the A.N.C. as something of a relic. “Maybe they had a plan to fight apartheid, but not a plan for the economy,” one voter said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa: The A.N.C.’s leader will have to pull together his highly factionalized party to form a coalition. Some may blame him for the devastating defeat, and seek new party leadership.

Narendra Modi atop a saffron pickup truck, its cab strewed with flowers, waving to supporters.
Narendra Modi’s power is deeply entrenched. Sahiba Chawdhary/Reuters

Modi seems poised for a third term

Results will be tallied and announced tomorrow in India’s general election. Narendra Modi seems likely to win a third consecutive term as prime minister, which would make him only the second leader in India’s nearly 75 years as a republic to achieve that feat.

His Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party put the focus almost entirely on Modi’s popular leadership in order to overcome growing anti-incumbent sentiment. The opposition, despite being hamstrung by arrests and other crackdowns, mustered its most united front in years, but exit polls indicated that it was struggling to cut into the B.J.P.’s sizable parliamentary majority.

An overhead picture of a large crowd with signs and Israeli flags extends down a street. A large sign in the center reads “Biden Save Them From Netanyahu” in English.
Protesters in Tel Aviv on Saturday. Abir Sultan/EPA, via Shutterstock

Biden presses Israel for a cease-fire

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, was put on the spot in the past few days by President Biden, who called for a truce in Gaza on Friday and outlined broad terms that he said were presented by Israel. “It’s time for this war to end,” Biden said.

In response, Netanyahu reiterated on Saturday that Israel would not agree to anything that did not result in the “destruction of Hamas’s military and governing capabilities.” But notably absent was Netanyahu’s oft-stated goal of “total victory” over Hamas.

Gaza: Officials from Israel, Egypt and the U.S. met in Cairo yesterday to discuss reopening the Rafah crossing, an important route for aid to enter Gaza.

MORE TOP NEWS

An older woman in a pink floral blouse with a purple scarf inserts her ballot into an opaque ballot box.
An Indigenous woman voting in Mexico’s election yesterday. Mario Vazquez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Donald Trump

The Week Ahead

  • The West: Leaders will try to use the 80th anniversary of D-Day on Thursday to project unity during an extraordinary stretch of diplomatic summits.
  • Europe: European Parliament elections begin on Thursday. They are the only way in which E.U. citizens can have a direct say in shaping the bloc’s policies.
  • Hunter Biden: The president’s son is set to stand trial on charges that he failed to disclose his drug addiction on a form when buying a gun in 2018.

MORNING READ

An animated GIF fills in with a grid of 49 headshots of babies and toddlers.

During Russia’s occupation of Kherson, Ukraine, officials took dozens of children living in a foster home. A year later, my colleagues found their photos on a Russian federal adoption site. Experts say what happened to the children could be a war crime.

My colleagues explain more in this video.

Lives lived:

U Tin Oo, who died at 97, was a leader of Myanmar’s pro-democracy movement. He had been the minister of defense before he turned against the repressive government.

Birubala Rabha fought the practice of branding women as witches in India. She died at 75.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

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ARTS AND IDEAS

A man in shorts and no shirt working on Starlink equipment that is sitting on a tall wooden stump.
A Marubo man installs a Starlink satellite antenna in the Amazon. Victor Moriyama for The New York Times

Starlink comes to the Amazon

The Marubo people have long lived in communal huts scattered hundreds of miles along the Ituí River deep in the Amazon. They have preserved their way of life for hundreds of years through isolation.

But since September, the Marubo have had high-speed internet, thanks to Elon Musk. The 2,000-member Marubo tribe — like of hundreds across Brazil — is logging on with Starlink, the satellite-internet service Musk runs.

Initially, the internet brought clear benefits, like video chats with faraway loved ones and calls for help in emergencies. Now they are already grappling with challenges long familiar to households worldwide: teenagers glued to phones, addictive social networks, online strangers, violent video games, scams, misinformation and minors watching porn.

“People were on it all the time,” my colleague Jack Nicas, our Brazil bureau chief, explains in a video, “so much that it became a problem for the hunting and the farming that are necessary for their way of life.”

RECOMMENDATIONS

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Christopher Testani for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Cook: It’s surprisingly easy to pickle red onions.

Read: “When Women Ran Fifth Avenue” profiles three department store executives who revolutionized shopping.

Listen: Hear new tracks by Eminem, Clairo, Nathy Peluso and others.

Travel: Pantelleria is a wind-whipped island that’s close to Sicily, but without the crowds.

Play: Spelling Bee, the Mini Crossword, Wordle and Sudoku. Find all our games here.

That’s it for today. See you tomorrow. — Amelia

Email us at briefing@nytimes.com.

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