The New National Party: The End of the Road
The 2004 elections signaled the end for the architects of apartheid, the New National Party (NNP). Shortly after South Africa’s third democratic elections the NNP’s leader, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, announced that the party would disband and merge with its former political enemy, the African National Congress (ANC).1 This declaration signaled the end of one of South Africa’s more controversial political forces, which had been in steady decline since the 1994 elections. As the creator of apartheid, the National Party (NP) had benefited from forty-six years of uninterrupted rule before becoming a negotiating partner in the successful transition to democracy in 1994. In the historic first elections, the NNP (at the time still called the National Party), was able to secure the second position in Parliament, but by the 1999 elections the party won only half the seats it had earned in 1994. Between 1994 and 1999, the party seemed unable to position itself in South African politics. It had entered into and then withdrawn from the Government of National Unity (GNU); renamed itself the NNP; adopted a vaguely articulated “Christian Democratic” platform, and attempted to become a “nonracial” alternative to the ANC. After being reduced to fourth position in the 1999 election, the party further attempted to transform its political persona by entering into a series of alliances to ensure its future.
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