National Party of South Africa

National Party of South Africa
South African political party that ruled the country in 1948–94.

Its following includes most Afrikaners and many English-speaking whites. It was founded in 1914 by J.B.M. Hertzog to rally Afrikaners against the Anglicizing policies of the government of Louis Botha and Jan Smuts. From 1933 to 1939 Hertzog and Smuts joined a coalition government and fused their followings into the United Party. Some Nationalists, led by Daniel F. Malan, held out and kept the National Party alive, and in 1939 they accepted Hertzog back as their leader. After winning the 1948 elections and enacting a mass of racial legislation, the party named its policy apartheid. In 1961 it severed ties with the Commonwealth and made South Africa a republic. In opposition to liberalizing policies, much of its right wing split off to form the Conservative Party in 1982. Under F.W. de Klerk it began to seek repeal of racial laws. The National Party was defeated in South Africa's first universal elections in 1994 but participated in a coalition government with its longtime rival, the African National Congress. With the enactment of a new constitution in 1996, the Nationalists resigned from the government in protest. See also P.W. Botha.

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Universalium. 2010.

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