South Africa Running Against America

The white election campaign opens with blasts at Washington

With the verve and vigor they usually reserve for their favorite rugby matches, South Africa's white politicians last week set off on a three-month- long election campaign. On May 6, almost two years before the next constitutionally mandated election, the country's 3 million white voters will go to the polls to elect a new all-white legislature. Although it will not be a referendum on any specific issue or program, State President P.W. Botha is, in effect, asking for a vote of confidence on his hard-line responses to black activists at home and economic sanctions from abroad.

As Botha and his governing...