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South Africa: main opposition party says new coalition partner has withdrawn from deal

South African anti-apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele, left, greets Helen Zille, right, the head of the South African Democratic Alliance political party during a press conference in Cape Town, South Africa, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014. The former anti-apartheid activist who was close to Steve Biko and was a World Bank executive merged her party Tuesday with South Africa's main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, and will be its presidential candidate, challenging the ruling African National Congress whose popularity has eroded amid corruption scandals and other problems. (AP Photo/ Nardus Engelbrecht)

South African anti-apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele, left, greets Helen Zille, right, the head of the South African Democratic Alliance political party during a press conference in Cape Town, South Africa, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014. The former anti-apartheid activist who was close to Steve Biko and was a World Bank executive merged her party Tuesday with South Africa's main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, and will be its presidential candidate, challenging the ruling African National Congress whose popularity has eroded amid corruption scandals and other problems. (AP Photo/ Nardus Engelbrecht)  (The Associated Press)

South Africa's main opposition party says a plan to join forces with another opposition group to challenge the ruling party in elections this year has collapsed.

The Democratic Alliance party said in a statement Sunday that opposition leader Mamphela Ramphele had reneged on a deal to be its presidential candidate and to merge her smaller party with the Democratic Alliance.

Ramphele was the partner of Steve Biko, the Black Consciousness leader who was tortured and died in police custody in 1977. She has been an activist, doctor, academic and World Bank executive.

The ruling African National Congress has been in power since Nelson Mandela was elected president in South Africa's first all-race elections in 1994. Analysts expect it to win this year's elections, though possibly with a smaller majority.