Former President Is Dead  

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Former President Is Dead

 

 

 

FW de Klerk, the former president of South Africa and the last white man to lead the country, has died at the age of 85.

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Mr de Klerk, who was also a key figure in the nation’s transition to democracy, had been diagnosed with cancer this year, a spokesman said.

 

Mr de Klerk was head of state between September 1989 and May 1994.

 

In 1990 he announced he was releasing anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, leading to multi-party polls in 1994.

 

A statement from the former president’s FW de Klerk Foundation on Thursday morning read: “Former President FW de Klerk died peacefully at his home in Fresnaye (Cape Town) earlier this morning following his struggle against mesothelioma cancer.”

 

The foundation had announced the diagnosis – a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs – in June this year.

 

FW de Klerk had taken over from PW Botha as the head of the National Party in February 1989 and the following year announced he was removing the ban on parties that included Mr Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC).

 

His actions helped bring an end to apartheid-era South Africa, and he became one of the two deputy presidents after the multi-party elections in 1994 that saw Mr Mandela become president.

 

 

Frederik Willem de Klerk OMG DMS was a South African politician, who served as state president of South Africa from 1989 to 1994 and as deputy president from 1994 to 1996.

 

As South Africa’s last head of state from the era of white-minority rule, he and his Government dismantled the apartheid system and introduced universal suffrage. Ideologically a conservative and an economic liberal, he led the National Party from 1989 to 1997.

 

The Nobel Peace Prize 1993 was awarded jointly to Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk “for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa.”

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