South Africa

Democratic Alliance

Published 12th May, 2014

The Democratic Alliance or DA was founded on 24th June 2000 through a merger of the Democratic Party (DP) and sections of the former ruling party, the New National Party (NNP). The Democratic Party can trace its history back to the Progressive Party of Helen Suzman and the anti-apartheid movement. The New National Party was the post-apartheid successor of the once ruling National Party (NP).

The party describes itself politically as in the Centre and believes in South African Liberalism.

In the 1999 general election the Democratic Party led by Tony Leon won 38 seats and the New National Party won 28 seats.

In the first elections as the new Democratic Alliance party in 2004 with Tony Leon as leader, much to the annoyance of many NNP supporters, the party won 50 seats. A remaining smaller New National Party won seven seats but by 2005 had dissolved itself with most of the remaining stalwarts joining the African National Congress.

In 2009 the DA had a new leader in Helen Zille and they managed to increase the number of seats they won to 67 in the 400 seat National Assembly. In the last few years the DA has consolidated its position in Cape Town and the Western Cape.

In 2014 the Democratic Alliance had a good general election; it increased its parliamentary representation by 18 seats to take 89 of the 400 seats in the National Assembly. The party also increased its number of elected members in all nine provinces.

The Democratic Alliance is affiliated to Liberal International and is a member of the Africa Liberal Network.

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