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South Africa's ruling ANC takes lead as votes being counted

Preliminary results show that South Africa's ruling African National Congress party has an early lead in the national elections but has seen its share of the vote drop significantly.

Of the votes counted in 35% of South Africa's voting districts, the ANC leads with 55%, down from the 62% share it won in the previous elections in 2014, according to results announced Thursday by the electoral commission.

The opposition Democratic Alliance has increased its share to 25% of the votes. The populist, leftist Economic Freedom Fighters has increased its share of the vote to nearly 8%.

The turnout for the election is 65%, down from 74% in the previous election.

Final results are expected to be announced on Saturday.