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Early election returns show South Africa's ruling party ahead of main rivals

Early results from elections in South Africa show the ruling African National Congress party leading its main opposition rival, which had tried to woo voters unhappy with alleged corruption and a lack of opportunities for the poor.

Results released by the national election commission early Thursday showed the African National Congress with about 57 percent and the opposition Democratic Alliance with 29 percent after about 3.4 million votes had been counted. The Economic Freedom Fighters, a new party that wants to redistribute the country's resources to the poor, was third with about 4 percent.

About 25 million South Africans had registered to vote in the fifth all-race polls in South Africa since the end of white minority rule in 1994.