Archive for Sunday, April 20, 2008

Zimbabwean officials begin recount for parliament seats

April 20, 2008

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— Zimbabwe's main opposition party said Saturday it feared its parliamentary election victory was being stolen, while former U.N. chief Kofi Annan urged African leaders to step in and resolve the country's election crisis.

Zimbabweans are still awaiting results of the presidential election three weeks ago alongside parliamentary voting. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai claims he won outright and that the delay in reporting results is part of a fraud plot.

Now the opposition's landmark victory in the parliamentary vote is being called into question. Electoral officials on Saturday began recounting ballots for nearly two dozen legislative seats, which could overturn the Zimbabwean opposition's landmark majority win in the parliamentary poll.

Most of the seats being recounted had been declared for opposition candidates, including in President Robert Mugabe's home district of Zvimba.

State-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp. reported the recount would take as many as three days.

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change said in a statement Saturday it had "learnt with disgust" that a number of ballot boxes arriving at recount centers were "without seals." It called the recount a "rogue and flawed process."

The opposition also reported that four more supporters had died in attacks they attributed to Mugabe loyalists, bringing the number of reported deaths of activists to 10.

"Rural areas have been made no go areas, and defenseless people have been forced to flee their homes and are sleeping in the mountains, but the police are not taking any action despite the international community being fully aware of what is happening," the party said in a statement.

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