For nearly twenty years Tony Leon has been a Member of Parliament in South Africa, and for thirteen years he led the Democratic Alliance and its predecessor. He is the longest serving Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, since the advent of democracy in April 1994. He led and grew his party from its marginal position on the brink of political extinction into the second largest political force in South Africa.
A trained lawyer, Leon actively participated in the critical constitutional negotiations which led to the birth of a democratic South Africa and served as a co-chairperson of the Constitutional Assembly’s Theme Committee on Fundamental Rights.
He has been at the forefront of national and international events, both as a front-ranking parliamentarian and renowned orator and writer and as a Vice-President of Liberal International. He has addressed the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House), London, the Institute for Strategic Studies, London, the International Policy Network, London, the Council on Foreign Relations (Washington DC, and New York City), the Alliance of Democrats, Rome, and the World Economic Forum in South Africa, the German Council on Foreign Relations, Berlin, and the European Parliament, Brussels.
Leon has been widely published in academic journals and in the media and has authored articles for Time Magazine, The Spectator, Harvard International Review, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Daily Telegraph. He has published two books: Hope and Fear: Reflections of a Democrat and On the Contrary: Leading the Opposition in a Democratic South Africa.
After standing down from the leadership of the opposition in 2007, he was awarded a Fellowship at the Institute of Politics, John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
He was born and educated in KwaZulu Natal, graduated BA.LLB from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and is a qualified attorney.
- Hope and Fear: Reflections of a Democrat (1998)
- On the Contrary: Leading the Opposition in a Democratic South Africa (2008)
1. Tony Leon, Tonyleon.co.za. Retrieved 18 October 2012.