Friday, August 22, 2008

(TALKZIMBABWE) SOUTH AFRICA: Apartheid party re-registered

SOUTH AFRICA: Apartheid party re-registered
AFP Reporter
Wed, 20 Aug 2008 03:52:00 +0000

SOUTH Africa's former white-minority ruling National Party, dissolved three years ago, has re-registered with the electoral commission ahead of general elections next year, a party spokesman said Monday.

The party which imposed apartheid on South Africa, before leader FW de Klerk engineered the end of the racially exclusive government, suffered a protracted demise under his successor in the guise of the New National Party.

However the NP has regrouped ahead of elections expected in April next year as "a modern and inclusive party that steers away from race politics."

Spokesman Jean Duval-Uys told AFP Monday the party had engaged previous members and supporters of the old NP, including De Klerk, who did not mind the party being revived although he would not take part.

The NNP lost its last lawmaker in parliament after chief Marthinus Van Schalkwyk dissolved the party in 2005 to join the ruling ANC cabinet of President Thabo Mbeki.

Once a symbol of segregated South Africa, the end of the NNP was described by Mbeki as an "unavoidable decision that the time had come to lay the ghost of the party to rest".

Van Schalkwyk's decision left a gap in opposition politics that the reconstituted NP hopes to fill at a time when voters are increasingly disenchanted with the ANC.

"We are trying to restore that balance to have a real strong opposition for the ANC," said Duval-Uys.

South African political support is heavily skewed in favour of the ruling ANC which achieved a 70 percent majority in the 2004 election, followed by the Democratic Alliance with a mere 12 percent.

Duval-Uys said the party would be run by a collective, to avoid a white or black face setting the tone, and is looking at eventually having four ceremonial leaders of different races.

The party will field 175 candidates in the upcoming election and will be officially re-launched on November 23.


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