Briefing from ROAPE Volume 21 Number 61
‘Negotiated Elections’ in South Africa 1994
The process of reconstituting the South African state on a democratic basis achieved a definitive step with the general elections of April 1994. The first democratic elections in the country's history successfully completed the transition from the racist apartheid state to one based on universal human rights and common political citizenship. Despite numerous irregularities and organisational problems, the elections were relatively peaceful and their result was decisive. Voters turned out in huge numbers and recorded a collective verdict which left no room for doubt about their support for democratisation and their overwhelming rejection of calls to resist, and efforts to destabilise, change. The ANCs landslide victory was a triumphant culmination of its long struggle for democracy and gave it a conclusive mandate to govern. The elections successfully legitimated the democratic transition.