National Party

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A South African political party. It was originally founded in 1913–15 by General J. B. M. Hertzog after his secession from Botha's South African Party. In 1924 it became the Nationalist-Labour alliance under Hertzog, who joined Smuts in the United Party in 1934. In the same year D. F. Malan founded the Purified Nationalist Party, which was reunited in 1939 with Hertzog, emerging as the Afrikaner-dominated party of apartheid. It held uninterrupted power from 1948 to 1994. Attempts by President P. W. Botha to meet the twin threats of domestic unrest and international condemnation of apartheid with a programme of mild reforms led to defections by supporters of apartheid to the Conservative Party and extreme right-wing Afrikaner groups. Under President de Klerk it opened its ranks to all races in August 1990, winning, at the cost of further defections of right-wingers, some support from moderates among both the coloured and unenfranchised Black population. In South Africa's first multiracial elections in 1994 the National Party won 82 out of 400 seats in the National Assembly and de Klerk was appointed Second Deputy President by Nelson Mandela. In 1996, following the ratification of a permanent constitution, the National Party withdrew from the government in order to become an opposition party. Renamed the New National Party in 1998, its support declined rapidly. It voted to disband in 2005 and its Members of Parliament joined the African National Congress.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945) — World History.

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