Parties rule out mergers

Anna Majavu

It is unlikely that the ANC will face any serious challenge from opposition parties in next year's elections.

Although DA leader Helen Zille, pictured, said recently that she wanted to create a "new force to challenge the ANC at the polls", the Independent Democrats say they have not been consulted and the United Democratic Movement will not join the DA.

Zille said yesterday she also did not want to form a new party.

"The DA is the party. I am looking at how to deal with the fragmentation of the opposition. I want a more unified opposition. Possibilities range from a non-aggression election pact between opposition parties, to alliances, to a merger, with nine other possibilities in between."

ID secretary-general Haniff Hoosen said his party was "prepared to form coalitions after the elections if the need arises to constitute a government at provincial level".

He would not say if the ID would merge with the DA. "If invited to an opposition party convention, we will take the invitation to our structures."

But the UDM will not form an alliance with the DA. Leader Bantu Holomisa said: "The UDM won't be party to any alliance. It does not form alliances before elections. That will be nothing more than ganging up against the ANC and it won't work if you just group different political parties before elections."