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1965: Huge Rhodesia election win for Smith
White voters in the African colony of Rhodesia have overwhelmingly backed Prime Minister Ian Smith's Rhodesian Front which is demanding independence from the UK.

Mr Smith's party took all 50 parliamentary seats reserved for whites and now has more than the two thirds majority necessary to change Rhodesia's constitution.

The main casualty was the Opposition Rhodesian party with both the leader, David Butler, and his deputy losing their seats.

Last month Britain's Prime Minister Harold Wilson warned Mr Smith of the consequences of unilaterally declaring independence and of "defying Britain, the whole of the Commonwealth and nearly the whole of Africa and the United Nations".

But it is now expected Ian Smith will push ahead with independence, with or without Britain's permission.

He is also expected to increase the number of seats reserved for MPs serving the country's 217,000 Europeans.

New opposition leader

The Rhodesian Front did not put up candidates against Africans running for the 15 seats set aside for representatives of the country's four million black residents.

Only about 11,000 black Rhodesians are entitled to vote and black MPs are elected on a separate, subordinate 'B' election list.

After the overwhelming reversal of the white opposition's fortunes the next leader of the Opposition is certain to be black.

The man tipped to assume the post is Josiah Gondo who was shadow internal affairs minister in the last parliament.

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White voters at polling station
Many of Rhodesia's white minority want independence

In Context
In November 1965 Ian Smith made a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) for Rhodesia.

The move attracted international condemnation.

Eventually Joshua Nkomo's Zapu and Robert Mugabe's Zanu parties overcame their differences to form the Patriotic Front (PF) to confront Ian Smith.

Armed resistance from their guerrilla movements continued until white rule formally ended in June 1979.

In January 1980 Robert Mugabe returned from exile.

After an overwhelming win in the March general election he became the first black prime minister of the renamed Zimbabwe.

In 1987 when the post of prime minister was abolished, Mr Mugabe became president. He was elected for a fifth consecutive term amid much speculation about ballot-rigging in 2002.

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