Zimbabwe election rocked by claims of Chamisa ‘assassination plot’

Zimbabwe election results Could the opposition party win

Zimbabwe election results Could the opposition party win

In an indication of the growing tension, a crowd of about 100 MDC supporters gathered outside a Harare hotel where election results were being announced but police blocked the entrance to the building, a Reuters witness said.

European Union observers questioned the conduct of the presidential and parliamentary poll, Zimbabwe's first since Robert Mugabe was forced to resign following a de facto coup in November after almost 40 years in power. Minister Mpofu blamed it on a "desperate opposition".

The ruling party's margin of victory in legislative elections makes Mnangagwa the stand-out favourite in that race, which featured 22 candidates.

Many shops were closed on Thursday morning and the pavements quiet.

The most important thing for us now is to move beyond yesterday's tragic events, and to move forward, together.I am therefore calling for an independent investigation into what occurred in Harare yesterday. "We don't accept that", Biti said.

The MDC said the army had opened fire "for no apparent reason", killing unarmed civilians.

Nelson Chamisa, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the official opposition, insists he won the election, despite recent poll results indicating otherwise.

Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party has won a majority in parliament, according to partial results released Wednesday.

A presidential poll will be held on Saturday, September 8, if a candidate does not secure more than 50% of the vote, but it will probably take a couple of days before the results of the presidential poll are declared.

Wednesday's violence, which followed a relatively orderly election, dashes President Emmerson Mnangagwa's hopes of repairing the image of a country that had become synonymous with corruption and economic collapse in under Mugabe.

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Supporters of Chamisa's MDC party have blocked streets and burned tyres.

The EU observer mission expressed "serious concerns" as representatives of Western and other groups gave their first assessments of whether the vote was free and fair - crucial for lifting global sanctions on the once-prosperous country.

A credible and peaceful vote was meant to end Zimbabwe's worldwide isolation and draw in foreign investment to revive the shattered economy.

European Union observers said "a truly level playing field was not achieved" in the election, pointing out the "misuse of state resources, instances of coercion and intimidation, partisan behavior by traditional leaders and overt bias in state media". It called for transparency in the release of results.

Under Mugabe, elections were often marred by fraud and deadly violence.

Of 210 parliamentary seats, 207 have been counted with ZANU-PF winning 144 and the MDC Alliance just 61.

The leader of the opposition, Nelson Chamisa, tweeted that he had "won". We have won the popular vote.

"We are nowhere near where we expected to be, so I can quite see us going into the fifth day which is allowed by law - but we are working flat-out", commission chairwoman Priscilla Chigumba told journalists in the capital.

Parliamentary results gave victory to the ruling Zanu-PF party in the first vote since the ouster of former ruler Robert Mugabe.

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