Zulu nationalists and pro-apartheid whites who vehemently opposed South Africa's first all-race election reversed themselves Friday and registered for the April vote.
But the groups continued to demand autonomous or independent states in post-apartheid South Africa. They said registering merely gave them the option to take part in the election if their demands were met.
Less than eight weeks remain until the April 26-28 vote, which will formally end apartheid by including the black majority for the first time. The deadline for registering for the election passed at midnight Friday.
By registering, Mangosuthu Buthelezi's Inkatha Freedom Party and a white right-wing leader signaled they believed international mediation could work out differences with the African National Congress and President Frederik de Klerk's government on the powers of regional governments in a new constitution.
The Freedom Alliance, which includes Inkatha and rightist whites, fears the ANC will win the vote and impose a strong central government that will trample minority rights. They want autonomous or independent states where they can govern themselves.
Mandela said there was no reason why mediation could not be completed in less than a month. Both Mandela and de Klerk have refused to consider pushing back the election date.
About 20 minutes before the election deadline, Gen. Constand Viljoen, a white right-wing leader, entered the registration office. Viljoen is a leader of the Afrikaner Volksfront _ an umbrella organization of pro-apartheid groups seeking a white homeland.
He said he registered "only in anticipation of possible results in negotiations or international mediation."
Earlier, Ferdi Hartzenberg rejected any chance that his Conservative Party _ a major component of the Afrikaner Volksfront _ would register or take part in the election.