South African general election, 1970

South African general election, 1970

22 April 1970 (1970-04-22)

All 166 seats in the House of Assembly
  First party Second party
Leader B. J. Vorster De Villiers Graaff
Party National United
Last election 126 seats 39 seats
Seats won 118 47
Seat change Decrease8 Increase8
Popular vote 820,968 561,647
Percentage 54.43% 37.23%
Swing Decrease3.88% Decrease0.14%

Prime Minister before election

B. J. Vorster

Elected Prime Minister

B. J. Vorster

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
South Africa
Foreign relations

The 1970 South African general election was held on 22 April for the 166-seat House of Assembly. Parliament was dissolved on 2 March and the deadline for the submission of candidates was 13 March. This was the first time in South African history that the House elected was responsible entirely to white people, as the seats of the four MPs elected separately by "qualified" Cape Coloured expired in the same year.

The election saw yet another victory for the National Party (NP), for the first time under the leadership of John Vorster, and saw a number of new representatives elected, including Chris Heunis, future Acting President and Pik Botha, future Minister of Foreign Affairs for 17 years, who made his maiden speech demanding that the government sign the UN Declaration of Human Rights.[1]

However, the NP lost some support for the first time since the 1948 election and its number of seats was reduced by eight. This could be attributed to losing votes to the right-wing splinter Herstigte Nasionale Party (Reconstituted National Party), which never succeeded to win any seats, however.

Helen Suzman, member of parliament for Houghton, retained her seat as the sole representative of the liberal Progressive Party.

House of Assembly results

Elections were held in 155 of the 166 constituencies (11 members elected unopposed). There were 2 028 487 registered voters and 1 508 248 votes were cast (74.7% of voters in contested constituencies).[2]

Party Leader Candidates Votes %Votes Seats %Seats Previous Change
  National Party John Vorster 145 820 968 54.43% 118 71.1% 126 -8
  United Party De Villiers Graaff 149 561 647 37.23% 47 28.3% 39 +8
  Herstigte Nasionale Party Albert Hertzog 80 53 763 3.57% 0 0.0% 0 ±0
  Progressive Party Jan Steytler 19 51 760 3.43% 1 0.6% 1 ±0
  Independents 14 9 622 1.35% 0 0.0% 0 ±0
Total valid 407 1 497 760 100.0% 166 100.0% 166 -
Spoilt votes 10 524
Total votes 1 508 284

* one seat was filled in a subsequent by-election


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  2. ^ IPU
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