These are heady times here, in many ways reminiscent of the period following the referendum almost two years ago. Then, as now, the white minority had taken an inexorable step in the direction of turning power over to the majority. Two-thirds of the white electorate had voted to authorize the government to negotiate the apartheid regime out of existence. The government had won decisive majorities in every region of the country, and it seemed as if anything was possible. Multiparty roundtable negotiations to draw up an interim constitution made rapid progress. Difficulties set in as groups opposed to a settlement fomented violence, culminating in the massacre at Boipatong that precipitated the collapse of the roundtable negotiations. Bipartisan negotiations between the government and the ANC (African National Congress) soon began again, however, as leaders in both parties realized that the risks of failing to reach a settlement outweighed those posed by reaching one. The result was the interim constitution adopted by parliament just before Christmas of 1993 in the run up to the multiracial elections scheduled for April 1994.
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