South Africa's ex-president Zuma barred from May election

South Africa's electoral officials said Thursday that they had excluded former president Jacob Zuma from May elections, further stoking tensions in the run-up to the polls.

The country is to hold general elections on May 29 in what is expected to be the most competitive vote since the advent of democracy in 1994.

The governing African National Congress (ANC) is on the brink of dropping below 50 percent of the vote for the first time since it came to power at the end of apartheid.

The party is bleeding support amid a weak economy and allegations of corruption and mismanagement.

Zuma, 81, was forced out of office in 2018 under a cloud of corruption allegations but still wields political clout.

He has been campaigning for the opposition uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) party in an attempt to relaunch his career, calling members of his former party, the ANC, "traitors".

"In the case of former president Zuma, yes, we did receive an objection, which has been upheld," electoral commission president Mosotho Moepya told reporters, without giving details.

"The party that has nominated him has been informed" as have those objecting to the move, he added.

The decision can be appealed before April 2.

MK spokesman Nhlamulo Ndlhela told AFP the party was "looking at the merit of that objection but we will of course appeal it".

'Intellectual property theft'

The electoral commission decision is not the MK's only problem.

The ANC on Wednesday filed a new court application to stop the MK from using its name, alleging intellectual property theft.

A court decision is expected to be announced in the coming days.

The general election, after which the victor will appoint a president, is set to be tense.

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