Zimbabwe Election ‘Compromised’

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This week’s election in Zimbabwe was “seriously compromised” with up to a million people prevented from voting, a local observer group has said.
Most of those turned away were in urban areas, where support for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is strong, said the group, which had 7,000 observers.

It noted that fewer voters were rejected in rural areas, seen as strongholds of President Robert Mugabe.

Mr Mugabe’s allies are already claiming a victory in Wednesday’s poll.

“We’ve buried the MDC [Mr Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change],” a senior party source told Reuters news agency.

It is illegal to publish unofficial results. The electoral commission has five days to declare who won the poll.

Regional observers have praised the peaceful nature of the election.

Mugabe pledge

In a statement on Thursday, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) said that potential voters were turned away from 82% of urban polling stations.

In rural areas, it said, the percentage was less than half that.
“The election is seriously compromised,” ZESN chairman Solomon Zwana said.

Mr Mugabe, 89, has pledged to step down after 33 years in power if he and his party lose.

Zanu-PF and the MDC have shared an uneasy coalition government since 2009 under a deal brokered to end the deadly violence that erupted after a
disputed presidential poll the previous year.

The first round of the 2008 poll was also praised for being peaceful – trouble broke out after the results were announced, with Mr Tsvangirai gaining more votes than Mr Mugabe.

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