Rhodesia's white population has voted overwhelmingly in favour of a limited form of black majority rule.
Rhodesia's white population has voted overwhelmingly in favour of a limited form of black majority rule. Reuters news agency reported on Tuesday (30 January) that almost-complete returns showed that whites had voted in the referendum almost six to one for the transitional government's plans for a black-dominated constitution.
SYNOPSIS: Whites were said to have turned out in large numbers in the capital, Salisbury, with a prospect of exceeding the eighty-five percent turnout in the 1977 general election. Even the blue-collar constituencies, which were expected to register a heavy 'no' vote, were said to have gone heavily the other way.
The referendum sought approval to hand over the majority of parliamentary seats to blacks, but to give whites the power of veto. The proposed constitution was drawn up by the transitional government -- a coalition of Prime Minister, Ian Smith and three black leaders, who have ruled the country since March of last year.
Mr. Smith toured throughout polling stations in Salisbury, and said it appeared there was no doubt that the voters would back the interim government's plans.
Mr. Smith had said in a nationwide radio and television broadcast on the eve of the poll that if the whites rejected the proposals it would be a devastating blow to blacks who had worked for the constitution. The transitional government needed a 'yes' vote to put into action its plans for multi-racial elections next April.