(Bloomberg) -- Former South African President Jacob Zuma’s party petitioned the Constitutional Court to stop parliament from convening, just days before legislators are scheduled to elect the president.

Lawmakers are set to meet on Friday for their first sitting after last month’s election. They’re also scheduled to appoint a speaker and deputy speaker of the National Assembly. The uMkhonto weSizwe Party, or MKP, initiated the court action after parliament rejected its demand to postpone the sitting.

The MKP submitted an application seeking a temporary suspension of the first sitting of the legislature “until such time that it will be properly constituted,” according to court documents dated June 10. The party, which won 58 of the 400 seats in the assembly, had previously threatened to boycott the meeting pending a legal challenge the party has said it plans to file challenging the election outcome.

South Africa’s parliament sees “no legal impediments” to the National Assembly convening on Friday, the chamber said in a statement on Monday. 

Zuma and the MKP campaigned in the election against President Cyril Ramaphosa’s African National Congress, which lost its parliamentary majority for the first time since it came to power three decades ago. While the ANC has invited opposition parties to help form the next administration in a broad coalition known as a government of national unity, Zuma’s MKP has ruled out a tie-up while Ramaphosa remains at the party’s helm.

Ramaphosa succeeded Zuma as ANC leader in December 2017 and as the nation’s president two months later, when the latter was forced to resign after almost nine years in power. Zuma has faced allegations that he tacitly consented to large-scale corruption and the looting of billions of dollars of government funds by his allies — accusations he denies and for which he hasn’t been indicted.

The MKP and at least a dozen other smaller parties alleged soon after the election that the vote was rigged, though they’ve yet to submit any substantiating evidence. The Electoral Commission of South Africa has denied the allegation.

Among the parties that have expressed an interest in joining the new government is the centrist Democratic Alliance, which won the second-highest number of votes in the election after the ANC.

The DA’s federal council — its main governing and policy-making body — on Tuesday unanimously endorsed a resolution affirming the mandate of party leader John Steenhuisen and its negotiating team to “continue with the process toward the formation of governments at national and provincial levels with hung legislatures,” according to a statement. 

The party’s federal executive will make the final decision relating to coalitions and the formation of governments, the party said. 

--With assistance from Monique Vanek and Ana Monteiro.

(Updates with DA statement in penultimate paragraph.)

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.