Edmonton Journal - - WORLD -

South African Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma re­signed on Wed­nes­day in a tele­vised ad­dress to the na­tion, avoid­ing his al­most cer­tain ouster in a par­lia­men­tary vote after years of cor­rup­tion scan­dals.

Zuma’s res­ig­na­tion came after the rul­ing African Na­tional Congress party in­structed him to leave of­fice by the end of Wed­nes­day or face the mo­tion of no con­fi­dence in par­lia­ment. His de­par­ture ended a lead­er­ship cri­sis in one of Africa’s big­gest economies and set the stage for rul­ing party law­mak­ers to elect act­ing pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa, pre­vi­ously deputy pres­i­dent, as Zuma’s suc­ces­sor.

“I have there­fore come to the de­ci­sion to re­sign as pres­i­dent of the repub­lic with im­me­di­ate ef­fect,” said Zuma, who added that he took the de­ci­sion even though he dis­agreed with the rul­ing party’s de­mand that he quit. Zuma, 75, had said he was will­ing to re­sign but wanted to stay in of­fice for sev­eral more months.

“Of course, I must ac­cept that if my party and my com­pa­tri­ots wish that I be re­moved from of­fice, they must ex­er­cise that right and do so in the man­ner pre­scribed by the con­sti­tu­tion,” Zuma said.

The for­mer pres­i­dent was de­fi­ant in an interview ear­lier Wed­nes­day.

“I’m be­ing vic­tim­ized here,” Zuma told state broad­caster SABC.

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