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Right-wing whites refuse to take part in election

South Africa's white right-wingers will boycott all-race elections next month. One leader issued a veiled threat to derail the voting.

The decision Saturday by the Afrikaner People's Front underlined the obstacles to black-majority rule despite the decision of the Zulu-based Inkatha Freedom Party, a front ally, to conditionally register for the elections.

Front co-leader Ferdi Hartzenberg said a meeting in Pretoria of the movement's representative council had voted to stick with an earlier decision not to take part in the election.

Asked what the AVF's next move would be, Hartzenberg said: "We go ahead, we place pressure on the elections. True self-determination and democracy means a volk (people) must determine its own future."

Hartzenberg has previously said right-wing Afrikaners would go to war if they were not allowed self-rule in their own territory.

The question of AVF participation was revived after Hartzenberg's co-leader, Gen. Constand Viljoen, registered for the election Friday night. An AVF statement Saturday said the registration had been withdrawn.

Viljoen said he had registered only to keep the front's options open.

The African National Congress, led by Nelson Mandela and expected to win the April 26-28 election, cleared the way for Inkatha to register when it accepted a Zulu leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi's demand for foreign mediation of outstanding issues, including an insistence that the new constitution be rewritten to provide for virtual self-rule for Zulus in Natal Province.

Meanwhile, the Vatican and South Africa established full diplomatic relations Saturday, a move likely to lead to the first trip by Pope John Paul II to the country where white-minority rule is being dismantled.

A statement said the Vatican was able to open formal relations because South Africa was headed toward "the definitive overcoming of the system of apartheid."

The pope, who has strongly condemned apartheid, is due to make a trip to Africa late this year or early in 1995. Vatican officials said a stop in South Africa could be included.

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