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Mugabe wins race with 61 percent of vote, Zimbabwean officials say

Zimbabwe’s longtime president, Robert Mugabe, won 61 percent of the presidential vote, trailed by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai at 33 percent, election officials announced Saturday.

Mugabe, 89 and in power for 33 years, has another five-year term in office, according to the results.

Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party won 158 of the 210 parliament seats, giving it a two-thirds majority in the legislature that enables it to make amendments to the new constitution and existing laws, according to the results announced by the country’s election commission. Tsvangirai’s party captured 50 seats, and two went to independent candidates.

Tsvangirai rejected the results earlier Saturday as fraudulent and called for fresh elections. He urged a peaceful response to the alleged rigging undertaken by ZANU-PF.

Tsvangirai said his Movement for Democratic Change party has in its possession evidence of tampering in Wednesday’s polls and will challenge the results.

“People of Zimbabwe must be given another chance to participate in a free, fair and credible election. They have been shortchanged by a predetermined election,” he said.

He said Mugabe’s victory in the polls has “dashed people’s hopes and aspirations.”

“There is no celebration. There is national mourning,” Tsvangirai said.

He said his party will not “participate in any government institutions” in protest but stopped short of saying it will boycott its reduced number of seats in parliament.

Mugabe’s loyalist army and police set up security posts Saturday in Harare, apparently in anticipation of protests.

Tsvangirai said a complete audit is needed of the disorganized voters’ lists, which were made available only at the time of the election.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague expressed “deep concern” about the conduct of the election, saying the failure to share the voters’ roll with political parties was a “critical flaw.”

Hague said that and other irregularities “call into serious question the credibility of the election” and added, “It is important that all allegations of electoral violations are thoroughly investigated.”

Independent monitors have charged that as many as 750,000 voters were prevented from casting their ballots Wednesday because of irregularities in voters’ lists.

They allege thousands of unregistered voters were allowed to vote.

The continent-wide African Union and regional monitors of the Southern African Development Community generally have endorsed the elections as peaceful but have expressed misgivings about how voting numbers might have been manipulated. The groups have demanded a full account of voter numbers from the official state election body before they pass final judgment on whether the polls were free, fair and credible.

Observers generally commended actual polling for being free of the violence that dominated campaigning against Tsvangirai in his two previous challenges for the presidency in 2002 and 2008.

— Associated Press


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