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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Opposition Parties and Democracy in South Africa
Author:Ottaway, Marina
Year:1991
Periodical:Issue
Volume:20
Issue:1
Period:Winter
Pages:15-22
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:democracy
political parties
African National Congress (South Africa)
Inkatha Freedom Party
National Party
opposition parties
Politics and Government
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1166769
Abstract:The obstacles to democracy in South Africa in the early 1990s were created both by the government/National Party (NP) - the two were indistinguishable - and by the black political organizations fighting apartheid. Despite all the problems, opposition parties multiplied after the unbanning of the black political organizations in February 1990. By mid-1991, three organizations occupied centre stage: the NP, the ANC, and Inkatha. The major concern of the NP in 1991 was not to eliminate apartheid, but to safeguard the position of whites and its own power. The government's proposal for a political system combining powersharing at the central level with extreme decentralization would work to the advantage of small parties and to the detriment of the ANC. The unbanning gave the ANC a chance to operate again as a party inside South Africa, but as a result it also weakened it as a symbol. Furthermore, the ANC was facing problems created by an authoritarian style of leadership. Another problem consisted of the ethnic strife between Inkatha and the ANC, which suited the government. The ANC's potential allies were the PAC and the Azanian People's Organization. Although they shared many of the ANC's goals, serious obstacles remained. The majority of the minor parties were on the government's side. They were part of the government's strategy for weakening the ANC. The pluralism which existed in South Africa was a nondemocratic pluralism. Notes, ref.
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