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1981 South African general election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1981 South African general election

← 1977 29 April 1981 1984 →

All 165 elected seats in the House of Assembly
  First party Second party Third party
PW Botha 1962.jpg
Leader P. W. Botha Frederik van Zyl Slabbert Vause Raw
Party National Progressive Federal New Republic
Leader since 1978 1979 1977
Leader's seat George Claremont Durban Point
Last election 134 17 10
Seats won 131 26 8
Seat change Decrease3 Increase9 Decrease2
Popular vote 778,371 265,297 93,603
Percentage 57.66% 19.65% 6.93%

Prime Minister before election

P. W. Botha

Elected Prime Minister

P. W. Botha

General elections were held in South Africa on 29 April 1981. The National Party, under the leadership of P. W. Botha since 1978, lost some support, but achieved another landslide victory, winning 131 of 165 directly elected seats in the House of Assembly.[1]

Meanwhile, the Progressive Federal Party – led since 1979 by Frederik van Zyl Slabbert, an Afrikaner – increased its representation to 26 seats, thereby consolidating its position as the official opposition. The Herstigte Nasionale Party (HNP), which represented right-wing Afrikaner conservatives, received 14.1% of the vote but failed to win a seat.[1]

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The 1981 election was the first since the abolition of the Senate that year, the House of Assembly had become the sole chamber of Parliament.[2] It was also the last to be held under the then 1961 Constitution, under which South Africa had become a republic, while retaining a Westminster-style parliamentary system.

The House of Assembly now included 12 additional members, four of whom were appointed by the State President and eight were elected by the directly elected members.[3] The elected additional members were chosen by means of proportional representation, by means of the single transferable vote.[1]


Of the 12 appointed and indirectly elected members, 11 were National Party representatives and one was from the Progressive Federal Party.[1]

National Party778,37157.66131–3
Progressive Federal Party265,29719.6526+9
Herstigte Nasionale Party191,24914.1700
New Republic Party93,6036.938–2
National Conservative Party19,1491.420New
Other parties and independents2,2640.1700
Presidential appointees4New
Indirectly-elected members8New
Valid votes1,349,93398.39
Invalid/blank votes22,0861.61
Total votes1,372,019100.00
Registered voters/turnout2,290,62659.90
Source: Nohlen et al.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d SOUTH AFRICA Date of Elections: 29 April 1981 International Parliamentary Union
  2. ^ Parliaments of South Africa, J.J.L Cloete, J.L. van Schaik, 1985, page 62
  3. ^ The Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa, Volume 13, Institute of Foreign and Comparative Law, University of South Africa, 1981, page 354
  4. ^ Dieter Nohlen, Michael Krennerich & Bernhard Thibaut (1999) Elections in Africa: A data handbook, pp832–836 ISBN 0-19-829645-2
This page was last edited on 22 February 2021, at 12:45
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