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South Africa's first-ever democratic electoral contest was one of the most significant global events of the decade. From the ashes of a repressive, segregated, and racist state emerged-miraculously and relatively free of bloodshed-a multi-racial and potentially compassionate new nation. This book, based on a large-scale and n-partisan public information project, provides an unparalleled wealth of fascinating information about the political dynamics of South Africa and the way the election really worked. It represents the definitive statement on the process of democratization in the country. In the year prior to the April 1994 election, R.W. Johnson and Lawrence Schlemmer assembled a team of leading South African social scientists and political analysts to monitor the campaign, party organization, the media, voter education efforts, and the contest itself, and to conduct eight surveys of opinion about the election and about popular expectations for the future. Using this unprecedented information base, the authors scrutinize the course and context of the election and its results, examining the intricacies of the electoral process and the still-disputed count and revealing both voting irregularities and pervasive fear and intimidation. The book sheds new light on the course of the election, on the construction of a policy consensus, and on the political sociology of the country as a whole. It represents the surest guide to the post-election reality of the new South Africa.
R.W. Johnson is a fellow in politics at Magdalen College, Oxford. He is a regular writer and broadcaster on South African politics, and his books include the best-selling How Long Will South Africa Survive? Lawrence Schlemmer is vice-president of the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa and the country's senior electoral analyst.