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Zuma at the U.N. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The walls are closing in around South African President Jacob Zuma, who is refusing calls from his own party to resign and is now expected to face, and lose, a vote of no confidence on Thursday if he doesn’t step down before then.

The big picture: Zuma, 75, is a political survivor. He has been dogged by corruption allegations since before he became president in 2009, and multiple no confidence votes have failed during his tenure. The difference this time is that his own party has fully abandoned him.

The latest: Zuma gave a lengthy, defiant TV address earlier today, claiming he is a victim of an “unfair” process and there should be no “hurry” to force him out immediately. He says he’s willing to step down in June after a transition process, a suggestion his party finds unacceptable.

  • Zuma will reportedly make another statement about his future this evening.

The most recent allegations: Zuma is accused of steering government contracts to two wealthy Indian-born brothers, the Guptas, and enriching himself in the process. A villa belonging to one of the brothers was raided Wednesday by anti-corruption police.

What’s next: Cyril Ramaphosa, the deputy president and head of the ruling ANC party, is expected to be elected president by parliament and sworn in on Friday.

Go deeper: Meet Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa’s president-in-waiting

Go deeper

50 mins ago - Axios on HBO

Preview: "Axios on HBO" interviews White House Senior Advisor Cedric Richmond

On the next episode of "Axios on HBO," Axios co-founder Mike Allen interviews White House Senior Advisor Cedric Richmond.

  • Catch the full interview and much more on Sunday, February 28 at 6 pm. ET/PT on all HBO platforms.
2 hours ago - World

Italy tightens COVID restrictions as experts warn of growing prevalence of variants

Health workers prepare vaccine doses in Iseo, Italy. Photo: Stefano Nicoli/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Italy on Saturday announced it was tightening restrictions in five of the country's 20 regions in an effort curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Driving the news: The announcement comes as health experts and scientists warn of the more transmissible coronavirus variants, per Reuters.

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Health care in the New Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As America emerges from the pandemic, here's a special Axios AM Deep Dive on the Biden administration's health care agenda.