Cyril Ramaphosa became South Africa's president with a message of clean government and inclusiveness overnight.
Stirring the hopes of many South Africans that he can reverse a corrosive period of decline and division under his predecessor, Jacob Zuma.
Ramaphosa, a lead negotiator in the transition from apartheid to democracy in the early 1990s, was elected by jubilant ruling party legislators anxious to shed political limbo and get the leadership of the country back on track.
In an indication of the challenges facing Ramaphosa, the two main opposition parties did not participate in the National Assembly vote, arguing it was a sham process because the ruling African National Congress party was tainted by its association with corruption scandals during the Zuma era.
Even so, the 65-year-old Ramaphosa delivered a measured, conciliatory speech to lawmakers in a chamber that had been the scene of heckling and sometimes scuffles during appearances by Zuma, who resigned late Wednesday after protracted discussions with ANC leaders who told him to step down or face a parliamentary motion of no confidence.
"I will try very hard not to disappoint the people of South Africa," Ramaphosa said soon after he was nominated as an unopposed presidential candidate and elected by his party.
He said the issue of corruption and mismanagement is on "our radar screen" and that one of his first aims is to meet rival party leaders so that "we can try and find a way of working together."