BANGKOK, April 26 -- The Nation newspaper commented editorially Tuesday on the South African election, saying in part:
After about 250 years of second-class citizenship black South Africans will end white minority rule today in South Africa's first all- race elections.
The death knell of apartheid, perhaps the most reviled social engineering experiment since Hitler's Nazism, will be sounded as the country's 22 million voters go to the polls between today and Thursday to elect a democratic government.
The historic election follows four years of difficult negotiations.
More than 14,000 people have died in political blood-letting since February 1990, when President F.W. de Klerk announced his intention for negotiations to end white minority rule and African Nation Congress (ANC) Nelson Mandela, who had been imprisoned for 27 years, was freed.
South Africans have demonstrated a surprising amount of maturity in that the election campaign and the elections seem to have produced a measure realism among them.
Also there is an overwhelming feeling of relief among the South African people that the elections are finally taking place.
People have been so exposed to the violent campaigns of both black and white right-wing parties that now there are fervent hopes the elections will be over as soon as possible.
Among the whites, obviously there are very real fears of a new South Africa with a black-dominated government in power but no one is hysterical.
On the other hand, among the blacks there are of course great hopes, but not euphoria. Both realize that the problems South Africa faced before the elections will continue after the polls and there are no two ways about that.
There will be no clear-cut winners or losers in the South African elections because for the next five years, or until the next elections are held, the country will be ruled by a government of national unity composed of all the parties.
Cabinet posts will go to all parties that get at least five percent of the vote and any party with more than 20 percent of the vote can nominate a vice-president.
Two vice-presidents will work under the president and it appears at this stage that one of them will be de Klerk. The other could be an ANC nominee or Buthelezi, depending on how well Inkhata does.
Today's South African elections are truly a historic moment. It will rank along the crumbling of the Berlin Wall and the fall of communism as defining events that helped shape this century.