History of elections in South Africa

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The South African general elections: 1987

On 30 January 1987, President P.W. Botha announced the election would be held on 6 May 1987. During the three-month campaigns, the main debate was around the maintenance of internal security as well as reform issues.  Nominations of candidates for the elections closed on 31 March 1987. The number of candidates recorded was 478 for the 166 seats. The general election was held on 6 May 1987 for all the seats in the House of Assembly. On the Election Day, the ruling National Party (NP), while being returned with an increased majority, lost a number of seats to the Conservative Party (CP). With the losses sustained by the liberal Progressive Federal Party (PFP), the NP was for the first time faced with an official opposition (CP) that was right-wing.

The number of registered electors for the 1987 general election was 3 053 417, the number of voters was 2 058 036, the number of blank or void ballot papers was 15 782, and the number of valid votes was 2 042 254. The National Party (NP) obtained 1 075 642 votes; Conservative Party (CP) obtained 574 502 votes, Progressive Federal Party (PFP) obtained 288 579 votes, Herstigte Nasionale Party(HNP) obtained 62 888 votes, New Republic Party (NRP) obtained 40 494 votes, andIndependents obtained 27 149 votes. 

In the 1987 South African general elections, held on 6 May, the National Party led by PW Botha won the majority seats of 123, Progressive Federal Party (PFP) of Colin Eglin won 19 seats, Conservative Party (CP) of Andries Treunicht won 22, Independent Movement of Wynand Malan and Denis Worrall won 1 seat, and New Republic Party (NRP) of Bill Sutton won 1 seat in the 165 seat House of Assembly.  

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• Tirykian, E.A. (1960). Apartheid and politics in South Africa. The Journal of Politics, Vol. 22, No 4, pp.682-697.
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•  Magubane, B. (2004). Introduction: the political context, in the road to democracy in South Africa, Vol 1, 1960 ”“ 1970. South African Democracy Education Trust.
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Last updated : 15-Apr-2014

This article was produced for South African History Online on 24-Feb-2014