Courtesy Reuters

South Africa After the Elections

ON June 12 a General Election for the House of Assembly took place in South Africa. Prior to the dissolution there was a House of 135 members, in which the "Pact Government" of Premier Hertzog had 73 pledged supporters -- 63 Nationalist and 10 Labor -- giving it without the vote of the speaker an assured majority of 10 over all possible combinations. On most questions General Hertzog could also count on the support of 7 members of a detached wing of the Labor Party, as well of one Independent, which meant in effect a majority of 26. The South African Party opposition, led by General Smuts, numbered 54.

In consequence of the operation of the automatic redistribution provisions of the South Africa Act, the new House will have 148 members. The elections have increased the representation of General Smuts' South African Party from 54 to 61, and the Labor wing of the government bloc has suffered a reduction in numbers from 10 to 5; but (allowing for a safe seat still to be filled) the Nationalist Party itself will be stronger by 15 in the new House than it was in the old. General Hertzog's own party will in fact now have a majority, after allowing for the speaker, of 7 over all possible combinations. With his pledged Labor supporters (for he has decided to continue the "Pact" in the Government as well as in the House), he will have a majority of 17. Moreover, he ordinarily will have the support of the 3 remaining Laborites and the one Independent, giving him a majority of 25.

The elections have therefore confirmed General Hertzog in office, with his effective majority practically unchanged. Labor representation has been reduced, and while the South African Party has improved its position as a result of Labor losses in the towns, this improvement is more than counterbalanced by the gains made in the rural areas by the Nationalists, who now for the first time in the history of the Union have an independent majority. General Smuts and the South African Party remain in the cold

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