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Cyril Ramaphosa appointed president of South Africa

Cyril Ramaphosa was elected president of South Africa by the country’s parliament on Thursday, after Jacob Zuma stepped down following weeks of intense pressure.

Mr Ramaphosa said he would "continue to improve the lives of our people," and “work very hard to try to not disappoint the people of South Africa", as he accepted the position yesterday evening. He is set to deliver his first state of the nation address tonight.

“There is widespread hope that Mr Ramaphosa will turn things around,” said the Guardian editorial. “Corruption has become deeply embedded both within the party and within the state, at every level; many people have benefited from his patronage. Tackling this will be a long struggle and will challenge many people’s interests – and Mr Ramaphosa has an election to fight next year, as well as immense problems to face in the economy and society. How much will he be able to do?”

Meanwhile the Financial Times editorial said “the hard work begins now” for Mr Ramaphosa. “There is an air of euphoria in South Africa right now,” it added. “It will be all to easy to disappoint.”

Mr Ramaphosa was previously South Arica’s appointed Special Envoy to Sri Lanka in an effort to facilitate negotiations between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).

See more on the South African initiative in our feature:

Enter South Africa? (18 Apr 2014)

His work in his role as Special Envoy was opposed by Sinhala nationalist parties.