September 25, 2008

S. Africa’s Lawmakers Vote for New Leader

South Africa's Parliament is expected to tap Kgalema Motlanthe, deputy leader of the African National Congress, to succeed Thabo Mbeki as president.

Lawmakers began voting Thursday to appoint a successor to Mbeki, who resigned Sunday amid claims of political interference in a corruption case against Jacob Zuma, the ANC leader expected to be elected president next year, the BBC reported.

Mbeki has denied the allegations but said he was stepping down in the interest of party unity.

If appointed, Motlanthe will serve until next year's elections.

South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance said its chairman, Joe Seremane, would challenge Motlanthe in the vote in Parliament, the British broadcaster said.

A court dismissed the charges against Zuma earlier this month on a technicality, the BBC reported. His supporters said the charges against him were part of a plan to prevent him from becoming president.