Tiger Tony to move on
In the truly British parliamentary style he so suits, Tony Leon has announced that he will step down as DA leader at the party's May 2007 conference. Without belittling Tiger Tony's leadership over the past 13 years, I have to feel that this represents a huge opportunity for the DA to realign their political style and interaction with the South African electorate.
The party has long since borne the mantle of the 'white opposition' with Tony's highly combative leadership style, and the selection of a new leader with a leadership style that more closely suits the South African parliamentary environment would undoubtedly assist in both achieving more as opposition, and become less alienated from much of the voting electorate. The ideal candidate would be a non-white candidate, so as to move away from the simple label of 'racism' whenever Tony has employed his combative approach. This final item on the shopping list is unlikely though, given the lily-white upper echelons of the DA's leadership.
Anyway, what it does give us is an interesting political year in 2007, with this 'succession debate' offering a tasty preamble for the much more significant ANC succession debate a few months later.