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South Africa's leader has been told to go. What now?

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South Africa Troubled President

FILE -- In this May 6, 2009, file photo, President elect Jacob Zuma reacts after the swearing in of members of Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa. Leaders of South Africa's ruling ANC party are struggling to remove President Zuma from office amid reports he asked for concessions in exchange for his resignation.The African National Congress says it will announce the results of a marathon meeting of its national executive committee at noon on Tuesday Feb. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Nic Bothma, Pool, File)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The leadership of South Africa's ruling party says it wants President Jacob Zuma to resign promptly and bring an end to political uncertainty and months of anger over multiple scandals. The African National Congress expects Zuma to respond on Wednesday to its decision, taken after lengthy private talks between the president and his likely successor, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. But what if the president continues to resist the calls to step down? Here's a look at what might happen next.


After a 13-hour meeting of the ANC's leadership, the party's secretary-general on Tuesday said Zuma should resign promptly and that a response is expected from the president on Wednesday. Zuma had agreed to resign but wanted to stay in power for three more months. The ANC leaders refused his request.


South Africa Troubled President

South African Deputy President and African National Congress party President Cyril Ramaphosa, delivers a speech at the Grand Parade in Cape Town, South Africa, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018 in celebration of Nelson Mandela's Centenary on the 28th anniversary of Mandela's release from prison. (AP Photo)

If the president agrees to go, the ANC will call a special sitting of parliament to formalize Zuma's resignation. Lawmakers are then expected to elect Ramaphosa as South Africa's next president.


If Zuma resists, he will face a vote of no confidence in parliament. An opposition-backed motion of no confidence has been scheduled for Feb. 22, but its sponsors want the vote to be moved up to this week.

The motion will need over 50 percent of votes in the 400-seat National Assembly. The opposition, which holds about 40 percent of seats, almost certainly will vote against Zuma. It is not clear how many members of the ANC, which holds about 60 percent of seats, will vote against him. If Zuma loses, he would no longer be president and his Cabinet would be dissolved.

"This is the worst-case scenario," said William Gumede, professor at the school of governance at the University of the Witswatersrand. "It would draw out this transition period even longer and South Africa would have a longer period of uncertainty about its leadership." The ANC would appear divided and ineffective while opposition parties would be instrumental in bringing Zuma down.


South Africa Troubled President

FILE - In this May 2, 2014, file photo, an election poster of President Jacob Zuma is defaced in the downtown area of Johannesburg, South Africa. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)

The president has faced multiple corruption allegations, although he says he has done nothing wrong. South Africa's top court has ruled that he violated the constitution following an investigation of multi-million-dollar upgrades to his private home using state money. A judicial commission is about to start a probe of alleged looting of state enterprises by Zuma's associates, and prosecutors are expected to announce soon whether they will reinstate corruption charges tied to an arms deal two decades ago.


One reason the president likely has resisted calls for his resignation is the possibility that he could face criminal prosecution. As the new president, Ramaphosa would not have the power to grant Zuma immunity from prosecution. But he would have the authority to have the state pay Zuma's legal fees and, if Zuma were convicted, he would have the power to grant a pardon.

If Zuma refuses to step down and faces off against the ANC leadership in a vote of no confidence, he could lose any terms agreed upon. Zuma already has survived several votes of no confidence and may be convinced he can win this one, too.