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Mandela Attends  At Final ANC Rally


Nelson Mandela attended the final rally of South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) party Sunday, three days before nationwide elections.

The former South African president, hero of the anti-apatheid movement, drew loud cheers from the crowd as he was driven into a sports stadium in a golf cart.

The 90-year-old Mandela did not speak at the rally but organizers showed a pre-recorded message, in which Mandela urged ANC leaders to work towards eradicating poverty and building a united, non-racial society.

An estimated 100,000 ANC supporters attended Sunday's "Siyanqoba" - or, "We are Winning" rally in Johannesburg in anticipation of a major victory for the ANC and for party leader Jacob Zuma.

Zuma is expected to be chosen South Africa's next president if the ANC wins control of parliament.

Addressing the rally Sunday, Zuma made a plea for unity among all South Africans and promised to lessen the impact of the global financial crisis on the country.

He also said his party had no plans on changing the country's constitution.

The ANCis favored to win Wednesday's elections by a large majority, despite the challenge of a breakaway party, the Congress of the People, or COPE.

Leaders of the four month-old party held a rally in the northeastern part of the country Sunday, and criticized what they view as a decline of morality and ethics in the ANC-led government.

COPE was formed from a faction of the ANC that was angered when ANC leaders forced South African President Thabo Mbeki to resign last year.

South Africa does not have direct presidential elections. The country holds general elections, after which the newly-elected parliament chooses the president.

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