New Republic Party (South Africa)

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The New Republic Party (NRP) was a South African political party. It was formed as the successor to the disbanded United Party (UP) in 1977 and as a merger with the Democratic Party. After the UP wound up, initially the last UP leader, Sir de Villiers Graaff served as the interim national leader of the new party, with Radclyffe Cadman as parliamentary leader. Before the 1977 election, Graaff resigned and Cadman became the national leader. As he was defeated in the general election, a new leader was needed.[1] Vause Raw was elected leader of the New Republic Party.[2]

However, a significant number of UP parliamentarians refused to remain with the new party; some joined the anti-apartheid Progressive Federal Party, six were expelled and formed the centrist South African Party and eventually joined the ruling National Party. The 1977 South African general election left the New Republic Party gutted, with only 10 parliamentary seats, down from the 41 the United Party had held previously. The NRP had held 23 seats at the dissolution, in 1977. In the 1981 South African general election the party could only retain ten of its seats. It however formed the Government in the Provincial Council of the then Province of Natal, the stronghold of the party.

The primary policy of the NRP was to introduce a multi-chambered parliament, with a chamber each for whites, coloureds, Indians, and urban blacks. However, in 1982 the Nationalist government announced plans for a Tricameral Parliament, which was to represent coloureds and Indians as well as whites. Blacks were not represented, even though the government no longer officially expected them to migrate to the bantustans. Nevertheless, the Tricameral Parliament's marked similarity to the NRP's policy meant that it was increasingly difficult to strike a moderate course between the NP and the liberal Progressive Federal Party (PFP).

In 1984, Raw was replaced as leader by Bill Sutton. However, when the NP announced its intention to talk to revolutionary groups, it gained liberal support. There was little enough space for the PFP to occupy on the left of white public opinion, and no room whatsoever for the NRP to split the difference between the NP and the PFP. The NRP won only one seat in the 1987 South African general election. It disbanded in 1988. On dissolving the party, Sutton recommended that party members throw their support to the Independent Party of Dennis Worrall. Sutton retained his seat until the 1989 election. Remnants of these groups merged into the Democratic Party which became the Democratic Alliance.

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