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1989 South African general election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1989 South African general election

← 1987 6 September 1989 1994 →

All 166 elected seats in the House of Assembly
All 80 elected seats in the House of Representatives
All 40 elected seats in the House of Delegates
  First party Second party Third party
Frederik Willem de Klerk, 1990.jpg
Andries Treurnicht.jpg
No image.svg
Leader F. W. de Klerk Andries Treurnicht Collective
Party National Conservative DP
Leader since 1989 1982 1989
Leader's seat Vereeniging Waterberg Did not stand
Last election 123 22 20
Seats won 94 39 33
Seat change Decrease29 Increase 17 Increase 13
Popular vote 1,039,704 680,131 431,444
Percentage 48.2% 31.5% 20.0%

South African House of Assembly, 1989.svg
House of Assembly after the 1989 election

Acting State President before election

F. W. de Klerk

State President

F. W. de Klerk

General elections were held in South Africa on 6 September 1989, the last under apartheid. The elections were called early (no election was required until 1992) to gauge support for the recently elected head of the National Party (NP), F. W. de Klerk, who was in the process of replacing P. W. Botha as the country's president, and the new leader's program of reform to include further retreat from the policy of apartheid. The advent of the Conservative Party had realigned the NP as the moderate party, expected to initiate negotiations with the Black opposition, with the liberal opposition openly seeking a new settlement.

Although it won an absolute majority, the National Party suffered an electoral setback and received only 48% of the popular vote, winning 94 of the 166 directly-elected seats in the House of Assembly. It was the first election since 1961 when it failed to win a majority of the (white) popular vote. However, the first-past-the-post voting system and a deeply fractured opposition allowed it to comfortably remain in power. Another 12 MPs were appointed by the State President and the 166 elected members, further entrenching the NP's majority.

The Conservative Party (CP), which opposed any form of power-sharing with other races, failed to accomplish a breakthrough but remained the official opposition with 39 seats. By some estimates, the party had received the backing of a slim majority of Afrikaner voters in parts of the country, once the NP's core constituency, but with very little support among English-speaking whites.[1]

Before the elections, the liberal Progressive Federal Party (PFP) had dissolved itself and regrouped as the Democratic Party (DP), winning 33 seats, six seats short of regaining its position as the official opoposition.

House of Assembly (White)

The White Chamber of Parliament had 178 members, 166 of whom were directly elected (including a seat from Walvis Bay, which was added in 1981) with 8 members indirectly elected by the directly elected members on the basis of proportional representation and 4 nominated by the State President (one from each province).[2]

The results of the election were interpreted by the government (based on support for the NP and the DP together) as a mandate from the white electorate to forsake the apartheid system and seek a compromise with the African National Congress and its leader Nelson Mandela.

Of the 12 appointed and indirectly-elected seats, nine were taken by the National Party, two by the Conservative Party and one by the Democratic Party.[3]

National Party1,039,70448.1994−29
Conservative Party680,13131.5239+17
Democratic Party431,44420.0033+13
Herstigte Nasionale Party5,4160.2500
Presidential appointees40
Indirectly-elected members80
Valid votes2,157,59399.52
Invalid/blank votes10,3360.48
Total votes2,167,929100.00
Registered voters/turnout3,120,10469.48
Source: Nohlen et al.[4]

House of Representatives (Coloured)

All five appointed and indirectly-elected seats were taken by the Labour Party.[2]

Labour Party171,93066.5969–7
Democratic Reform Party39,74115.395New
United Democratic Party19,8617.693New
Freedom Party1,9490.7510
Presidential appointees2New
Indirectly-elected members3New
Valid votes258,18698.90
Invalid/blank votes2,8611.10
Total votes261,047100.00
Registered voters/turnout1,439,11218.14
Source: Nohlen et al.[4]

House of Delegates (Indian)

Of the five appointed and indirectly-elected seats, three were taken by Solidarity, one by the National People’s Party and one by the Merit People's Party.[2]

National People's Party38,52325.168–10
Democratic Party10,4276.813New
National Federal Party8,0585.261+1
People's Party of South Africa6,0643.961New
United Party2,7121.770New
Merit People's Party2,0781.363New
Progressive Independent Party1,4970.980–1
Freedom Party7030.462New
Republican Party7010.460New
Presidential appointees2New
Indirectly-elected members3New
Valid votes153,13699.10
Invalid/blank votes1,3880.90
Total votes154,524100.00
Registered voters/turnout663,60423.29
Source: Nohlen et al.[4]


  1. ^ The Star, 24 May 1987
  2. ^ a b c 1981 House of Assembly Election African Elections Database
  3. ^ South Africa: Parliamentary Chamber: House of Assembly: Elections held in 1989 Inter-Parliamentary Union
  4. ^ a b c Dieter Nohlen, Michael Krennerich & Bernhard Thibaut (1999) Elections in Africa: A data handbook, pp832–837 ISBN 0-19-829645-2
This page was last edited on 18 February 2021, at 14:41
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