South Africa's first democratic election of 1994 provided the basis for the African National Congress (ANC) to replace the formerly ruling National Party (NP) as the country's dominant party. The new dominance was initially established by the ANC's majority position within the postelection coalition Government of National Unity. Since the election, however, the ANC's dominance has begun to be extended by a centralization of control exercised through the machinery of state, notably through four processes: the rewriting of the transitional interim constitution and the promulgation of a new constitution which, inter alia , abolishes the necessity for coalition government after the next election; the attempted containment of autonomy of the ANC's structures which have been established at the level of the new provinces; the exercise of party discipline within parliament and some curtailment of the government's accountability to parliament; and, fourthly, the imposition of administrative and financial discipline upon the provinces. These processes have taken place within a context of a fragmentation and fissure of Opposition party forces, which in the immediate future will only further enhance the ANC's dominance, despite some indication that that party is itself faced by a declining level of popular support.
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