Archive for Monday, March 31, 2008

Opposition claiming electoral victory

March 31, 2008


— President Robert Mugabe and his ruling party were defeated in presidential and parliamentary elections, according to the opposition and independent observers, but there was deafening silence Sunday from the Zimbabwe Election Commission, which released no results.

Tension was high in the capital, Harare, as large numbers of riot police patrolled deserted streets after nightfall. There were also reports of riot police in the crowded urban townships.

Fears grew that the count was being rigged as the delay in announcing results wore on. The first official results are usually released within hours of the polls closing.

Mugabe, 84, faced the strongest challenge in his 28 years of power from Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, and a ruling party defector, Simba Makoni. There were unconfirmed reports that a swath of key ministers and Mugabe loyalists had lost their seats in parliament.

Tsvangirai's party maintained that he won 67 percent of the vote in 150 of the 210 constituencies. The figures were based on final tallies posted at individual polling stations after being signed off by electoral officials.


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