Democratic Party (South Africa)

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This article is about the Democratic Party that existed from 1989 to 2000. For the Democratic Party that existed from 1973 to 1977, see Democratic Party (South Africa, 1973). For more about the history of the PFP, and the DA since its formation in 2000, see Democratic Alliance (South Africa).
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The Democratic Party (DP) was the name of the South African political party now called the Democratic Alliance. Although the Democratic Party name dates from 1989, the party existed under other labels throughout the Apartheid years, when it was the Parliamentary opposition to the ruling National Party's policies.

From 1989 to 1994 the party had three co-leaders, Zach de Beer, Denis Worrall and Wynand Malan, and won 34 seats in the 1989 election, up from 20 before the vote. In 1994, Tony Leon became the party's sole leader.

After the 1999 election, the DP, under the leadership of Tony Leon, became Official Opposition to the African National Congress-led government.

As the party absorbed smaller anti-apartheid groupings, as well as defectors from the United Party (the main opposition party in South Africa prior to 1977), its name changed a few times. Prior to the adoption of the Democratic Party label, it was known variously as the Progressive Party, Progressive Reform Party, Progressive Federal Party.

The DP had a short-lived merger with the New National Party (NNP) from 2000 to 2001 to form the Democratic Alliance (DA). Even though the NNP left the alliance, the DA chose to retain its new name.

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