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South Africa leader keeps party title

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma celebrated his re-election as Party President at the National Conference of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in Bloemfontein Tuesday.

Mike Hutchings/REUTERS

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma celebrated his re-election as Party President at the National Conference of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in Bloemfontein Tuesday.

BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa — Jacob Zuma, the embattled president of South Africa, won a landslide victory for a second term as head of the African National Congress on Tuesday at a party conference here, beating back a challenge from his deputy, Kaglema Motlante.

Cyril Ramaphosa, the union leader turned business tycoon, was elected as deputy president of the party.

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As was widely expected, the 4,000 delegates opted to return Zuma as the party president, making him almost certain to win the presidential election that is to be held in 2014.

The vote caps a tumultuous year for the ANC. It began with celebrations of the centenary of the party’s founding but quickly descended into party infighting and economic chaos following a series of violent wildcat strikes met with a harsh police crackdown that killed 34 miners.

Revelations of corrupt deals and state-sponsored renovations of Zuma’s house in his home village tarnished his image as the son of a poor family who rose to the highest office in the land.

Nelson Mandela, the beloved president who led the country out of apartheid and into multiracial democracy, has been in the hospital for more than a week, and at 94 is in frail health.

Zuma’s victory was greeted by wild cheering in the vast tent erected on the campus of a university to hold the delegates. Beneath yellow, black and green bunting, the colors of the ANC, they sang ‘‘Zuma is the one,’’ and stomped their feet, waving two fingers in the air, a symbol of support for his second term.

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