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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Parliamentary Opposition and Democratic Consolidation in South Africa
Authors:Habib, Adam
Taylor, Rupert
Periodical:Review of African Political Economy
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:opposition parties
Politics and Government
Abstract:Mainstream opinion in South Africa suggests that it is impossible to establish a viable parliamentary opposition because of the racialized structure of South African politics and society. This view holds that the political activities and electoral preferences of South African citizens are primarily determined by 'race'. However, there is significant evidence to suggest that 'race' should not be prioritized as the explanatory variable accounting for electoral behaviour. The failure to develop a strong parliamentary opposition rather reflects the fact that parliamentary opposition leaders are incapable of smashing the racial prism through which they view their electoral strategies, particularly in terms of macroeconomic policy. Furthermore, outside the existing parliamentary opposition parties, COSATU and the SACP (South African Communist Party) are the only other political forces with the capacity to serve as a viable parliamentary opposition; yet both of them are excluded from doing so by their strategic alignment - the Tripartite Alliance- with the ANC. The authors argue that the development of a strong opposition in South Africa is a long-term project. Bibliogr.