ANC rejects continued power sharing


By Norm Dixon The African National Congress has ruled out a continuation of power sharing after the 1999 elections. Under constitutional agreements prior to the 1994 elections, minority parties are guaranteed positions in the cabinet of the government of national unity (GNU). These provisions lapse once a new permanent constitution comes into force in 1999. National Party leader and GNU deputy president F.W. de Klerk told an NP constitutional conference in January that power sharing should continue. "We believe that beyond 1999 there is a need to find ways and means which will ensure that the major political role players, the biggest parties, will continue to rise above their party-political differences", he said. In response, the ANC issued a statement that repeated the position on the future of the GNU which it has put forward "on countless occasions". "It is the ANC's view that the GNU was a necessary element in the transition from apartheid to democracy. In this context, the GNU has always been conceived as a requisite step to guarantee a smooth political transition and to lay the foundation for national reconciliation and nation building." The ANC acknowledged that "the phenomenon of the GNU has indeed served the country very well", but "to allow it to become a permanent feature can only lead to the development of an obstacle to multi-party democracy. "The crux of multi-party democracy involves the existence of different political parties who should be free to represent different political persuasions, propagate different ideological positions and pursue different socio-economic programs. "Whilst the ANC recognises the idea of inter-party cooperation be it in the form of coalitions or alliances as practiced in democracies around the world, the ANC does not believe in the perpetuation of a forced coalition which denies the majority political party the right to freely decide how to pursue the interests of the majority."