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General elections were held in South Africa between 26 and 29 April 1994. The elections were the first in which citizens of all races were allowed to take part, and were therefore also the first held with
universal adult suffrage Universal suffrage (also called universal franchise, general suffrage, and common suffrage of the common man) gives the right to vote to all adult citizens, regardless of wealth, income, gender, social status, race, ethnicity, political stance, or ...
. The election was conducted under the direction of the
Independent Electoral Commission An election commission is a body charged with overseeing the implementation of electioneering process of any country. The formal names of election commissions vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and may be styled an electoral commission, a cen ...
(IEC), and marked the culmination of the four-year process that ended apartheid. Millions queued in lines over a four-day voting period. Altogether, 19,726,579 votes were counted, and 193,081 were rejected as invalid. As widely expected, the
African National Congress The African National Congress (ANC) is the Republic of South Africa's governing political party. It has been the ruling party of post-apartheid South Africa since the election of Nelson Mandela in the 1994 election, winning every election si ...
(ANC), whose slate incorporated the labour confederation
COSATU The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is a trade union federation in South Africa. It was founded in 1985 and is the largest of the country's three main trade union federations, with 21 affiliated trade unions.One Union expelled, ...
and the
South African Communist Party The South African Communist Party (SACP) is a communist party in South Africa. It was founded in 1921, was declared illegal in 1950 by the governing National Party, and participated in the struggle to end the apartheid system. It is a partner o ...
, won a sweeping victory, taking 62 percent of the vote, just short of the two-thirds majority required to unilaterally amend the
Interim ConstitutionA provisional constitution, interim constitution or transitional constitution is a constitution intended to serve during a transitional period until a permanent constitution is adopted. The following countries currently have, or have had in the past, ...
. As required by that document, the ANC formed a
Government of National Unity#REDIRECT National unity government {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
with the National Party and the
Inkatha Freedom Party The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) is a political party in South Africa. The party has been led by Velenkosini Hlabisa since the party's 2019 National General Conference. Mangosuthu Buthelezi founded the party in 1975 and led it until 2019. The IFP ...
, the two other parties that won more than 20 seats in the
National Assembly In politics, a national assembly is either a unicameral legislature, the lower house of a bicameral legislature, or both houses of a bicameral legislature together. In the English language it generally means "an assembly composed of the repres ...
. The new National Assembly's first act was to elect
Nelson Mandela Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (; ; 18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country's firs ...

Nelson Mandela
as
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) *President (education), a leader of a college or university *President (government title) President may also refer to: Automobiles * Nissan President, a 1966–2010 Japanese full- ...
, making him the country's first black chief executive. The date 27 April is now a public holiday in South Africa, Freedom Day.


Background

The
Inkatha Freedom Party The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) is a political party in South Africa. The party has been led by Velenkosini Hlabisa since the party's 2019 National General Conference. Mangosuthu Buthelezi founded the party in 1975 and led it until 2019. The IFP ...
(IFP) entered the election late, and it was added to the already-printed ballot papers by means of a sticker. In rural areas with limited infrastructure, people queued "for days" in order to vote.


Results


National Assembly

The 400 members of the
National Assembly In politics, a national assembly is either a unicameral legislature, the lower house of a bicameral legislature, or both houses of a bicameral legislature together. In the English language it generally means "an assembly composed of the repres ...
were chosen from party lists in proportion to each party's share of the national ballot.


Senate

The 90 members of the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper hou ...
were chosen, 10 from each province, by the newly elected provincial legislatures. Each province's Senate seats were allocated in proportion to the parties' representation in the provincial legislature. In 1997, on the adoption of the final Constitution, the Senate became the
National Council of Provinces The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) is the upper house of the Parliament of South Africa under the (post-apartheid) constitution which came into full effect in 1997. It replaced the former Senate, but is very similar to that body, and to many ...
; its political makeup remained the same, but members were divided into permanent and special delegates, as described in the following table.


Provincial legislature results

Members of the provincial legislatures were elected from party lists in proportion to each party's share of the provincial ballot.


Eastern Cape


Free State


Gauteng


KwaZulu/Natal


Mpumalanga


North-West


Northern Cape


Northern Province


Western Cape


Legacy

Following the elections, 27 April subsequently became a national public holiday, Freedom Day. In a Sunday Independent article on the 20th anniversary of the election, Steven Friedman, who headed the IEC's information analysis department during the
election An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold public office.voters roll made verifying the results of the election difficult, and there were widespread accusations of cheating. Friedman characterised the election as a "technical disaster but a political triumph", and intimated that the final results were as a result of a negotiated compromise, rather than being an accurate count of the votes cast, stating that it was impossible to produce an accurate result under the circumstances that the election was held. He wrote that he believed that the result of the election, which gave KwaZulu-Natal to the IFP; gave the National Party 20% of the vote share, and a Deputy President position; and held the ANC back from the two-thirds majority with the ability to unilaterally write the final constitution, helped prevent a civil war.


Notes


References


External links

*US Department of the Army, ''South Africa Country Study'',
The 1994 Elections

IEC results for 1994 election
{{Use dmy dates, date=August 2013
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 59 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital cities: e ...
1994 in South Africa Democratization General elections in South Africa April 1994 events in Africa