JOHANNESBURG - A coalition government that includes most of South Africa’s main parties has emerged as the most popular option for the African National Congress as it considers its options after losing the parliamentary majority it held for 30 years.

A government of “national unity” has been identified as the most suitable option because “this is what the people of South Africa said to us,” ANC spokeswoman Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri told journalists on Wednesday. She said the party had been in talks with five parties from across the political spectrum, including the center-right Democratic alliance and the populist Economic Freedom Fighters, which espouses Marxist ideologies.

The ANC will have 159 of parliament’s 400 seats following last week’s general election, where it won 40% of the vote. The DA will have 87 seats, and the EFF is set to have 39.

The ANC’s most senior body, the National Executive Committee, was set to meet on Thursday to consider its options. The meeting is expected to be attended by 110 of the party’s most senior members, including President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Under the constitution, the country’s parliament must meet on June 17 to elect a president.