Progressive Federal Party
The Progressive Federal Party (PFP) was a South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

n political party
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

 formed in 1977. It advocated power-sharing in South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

 through a federal
A federation , also known as a federal state, is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central government...

A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

, in place of apartheid. Its leader was Colin Eglin
Colin Eglin
Colin Wells Eglin is a South African politician who is best known for having served as national leader of the opposition from 1977–79 and 1986-87...

, who was later succeeded by Frederik van Zyl Slabbert
Frederik van Zyl Slabbert
Frederik van Zyl Slabbert was a South African political analyst, businessman and politician. He is best known for having been the leader of the official opposition — the Progressive Federal Party — in the House of Assembly from 1979 to 1986.-Early life, education and academic career:Born in...

 and then Zach de Beer
Zach de Beer
Zacharias Johannes de Beer was a liberal Afrikaner South African politician and businessman...

, but its best known parliamentarian was Helen Suzman
Helen Suzman
Helen Suzman, DBE was a South African anti-apartheid activist and politician.-Biography:Helen Suzman, a life-long citizen of South Africa, was born as Helen Gavronsky in 1917 to Jewish immigrants....

, who was for many years the only member of the whites-only parliament to speak out against the apartheid regime.

It was formed in 1977 when a group of United Party
United Party
United Party is a term used various political parties:* United Party of Canada* United Party * United States United Party* United Party of National Development, Zambia* United Party * United Party * United Party...

 members left the Party to form the Committee for a United Opposition, which then joined the Progressive Reform Party
Progressive Reform Party
The Progressive Reform Party was a South African party that was formed on 26 July 1975 by the fusion of the Reform Party led by Harry Schwarz and Progressive Party led by Colin Eglin...

 to form the Progressive Federal Party.

It drew support mainly from liberal English-speaking whites
Anglo-Africans are primarily White African people of largely British descent who live or come from Sub-Saharan Africa and are Anglophone. A large majority live in South Africa...

, as owing to South Africa's apartheid laws, its membership was limited to the country's whites. The PFP was derided by right-wing whites, who claimed its initials stood for 'Packing for Perth', on account of the many white liberal supporters of the 'Progs', who were emigrating to Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...


Another well known parliamentarian and prominent member of the party was Harry Schwarz
Harry Schwarz
Harry Heinz Schwarz was a South African lawyer, statesman and long-time political opposition leader against apartheid, who eventually served as the South African ambassador to the United States during the country’s transition to representative democracy.Schwarz rose from the childhood poverty he...

 who had previously led the Reform Party
Reform Party (South Africa)
The Reform Party was an anti-apartheid political party that existed for just five months in 1975 and is one of the predecessor parties to the Democratic Alliance...

 and signed the Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith
Mahlabatini Declaration
The Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith was a statement of core principles laid down by South African political leaders Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Harry Schwarz on 4 January 1974. It was signed in Mahlabatini, KwaZulu-Natal, hence its name...

. He was the chairman of the Federal Executive (1976–79), finance spokesman (1975–91) and defence spokesman (1975–84). He was regarded as the PFP's greatest parliamentary performer and was amongst the most prominent and effective opponents of apartheid in Parliament.

It was ousted as the official opposition by the far-right Conservative Party
Conservative Party (South Africa)
The Conservative Party of South Africa was a conservative party formed in 1982 as a breakaway from the ruling National Party...

 in the whites-only parliamentary elections held on May 6, 1987.

This electoral blow led many of the PFP's leaders to question the value of participating in the whites-only parliament, and some of its MPs left to form the New Democratic Movement (NDM).

In 1989, the PFP and NDM merged with another small white reformist party, the Independent Party
Independent Party (South Africa)
The Independent Party was founded in 1987 by Denis Worrall and Wynand Malan. Its purpose was to protest against the National Party's shift in policy from reform to security. It contested the 1987 election as the Independent Movement and Malan, its founder, won its only seat...

 (IP), to form the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (South Africa)
The Democratic Party was the name of the South African political party now called the Democratic Alliance . Although the Democratic Party name dates from 1989, the party existed under other labels throughout the Apartheid years, when it was the Parliamentary opposition to the ruling National...


See also

  • Federalism
    Federalism is a political concept in which a group of members are bound together by covenant with a governing representative head. The term "federalism" is also used to describe a system of the government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and...

  • Liberalism
    Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

  • Contributions to liberal theory
    Contributions to liberal theory
    Individual contributors to classical liberalism and political liberalism are associated with philosophers of the Enlightenment. Liberalism as a specifically named ideology begins in the late 18th century as a movement towards self-government and away from aristocracy...

  • Liberalism worldwide
    Liberalism worldwide
    This article gives information on liberalism in diverse countries around the world. It is an overview of parties that adhere more or less to the ideas of political liberalism and is therefore a list of liberal parties around the world....

  • List of liberal parties
  • Liberal democracy
    Liberal democracy
    Liberal democracy, also known as constitutional democracy, is a common form of representative democracy. According to the principles of liberal democracy, elections should be free and fair, and the political process should be competitive...

  • Liberalism in South Africa
    Liberalism in South Africa
    This article gives an overview of liberal parties in South Africa. It is limited to liberal parties with substantial support, mainly proved by having had a representation in parliament.-Introduction:...

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