Baleka Mbete (Picture: Sapa)
Cape Town - The National Assembly on Wednesday elected ANC national chair Baleka Mbete Speaker after 400 new MPs took their seats - ranging from the red-clad initiates of the EFF to veterans of the post-apartheid Parliament.
Mbete easily defeated the Democratic Alliance's nominee for the post, former African National Congress Eastern Cape premier Nosimo Balindlela who first defected to the Congress of the People and then to the official opposition in 2012.
Mbete won 260 votes compared to Balindlela's 88. There were 366 ballots cast of which 18 were invalid.
Mbete previously held the post from 2004 to 2008 and replaced the widely respected Max Sisulu, who was sworn in as an ordinary ANC MP on Wednesday.
Political analyst Steven Friedman commented that Sisulu had a reputation for listening to all political parties and Mbete's election was a clear sign the ruling party wanted the Speaker to do "what the ANC wants".