Zimbabwe's Rivals Neck And Neck
Zimbabwe's Rivals Neck And Neck Website
Almost two-thirds of Zimbabwe's parliamentary results have been declared, with the ruling party and opposition very close. Zanu-PF has 64 seats, while the opposition has 67, and 79 yet to come. In the presidential race, there is increasing speculation that a run-off may be needed between President Robert Mugabe and his rival Morgan Tsvangirai. This is the projection from both an independent monitoring group and what Zanu-PF sources have told Reuters. The electoral commission has urged people to be patient while votes are checked. Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change says he won and the delay is to allow the outcome to be rigged. More than half of the parliamentary results have been released, with Zanu-PF and the MDC very close. Five of the opposition seats have gone to a breakaway faction of the MDC. A BBC correspondent inside Zimbabwe says people are finding the delay difficult to accept, as they can see the results of local voting posted at polling stations throughout the country. The streets of the capital, Harare, have been quiet, but security in parts of the city is tight. Zimbabweans are eager to know the results and the AFP news agency reports that newspaper vendors have been selling papers at three times the cover price. Mr Mugabe has insisted that the vote would be free and fair. A Zanu-PF spokesman says Mr Mugabe is headed for re-election but would accept defeat. The international community has urged Zimbabwe to give the results soon. Foreign ministers from seven European Union countries "called on the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission to swiftly announce all official election results, especially the results of the presidential election". Washington said the vote should be counted honestly and reflect the will of the people. UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the eyes of the world were on Zimbabwe. John Sawers, British Ambassador to the United Nations, said that if the elections did herald a change of leadership, "there would be a huge groundswell of support for a new government prepared to address the fundamental problems that exist in Zimbabwe". Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) says Mr Mugabe came second in the presidential race with 42 per cent, while independent candidate Simba Makoni on 8 per cent. If correct, these results would mean a run-off would be required within three weeks. It based its projected results on a sample of 435 of the 9,000 polling stations, which it says were analysed by independent statisticians. ZESN head Noel Kututwa said "the public needs to know, everyone is anxious to know who their next president is going to be". Two Zanu-PF sources told Reuters news agency that their party's projections were similar, with 48 per cent for Mr Tsvangirai, against 43 per cent for Mr Mugabe. "We are looking at a re-run," the source said. However, BBC correspondent Peter Greste urges these figures to be treated with caution, as the ruling party is divided at the moment. The MDC claims Mr Tsvangirai has won 60 per cent of the presidential vote, against 30 per cent for President Robert Mugabe. Marwick Khumalo, head of the Pan-African Parliament observer mission, told South African radio on Tuesday that some senior Zanu-PF officials were contemplating life after Mr Mugabe. "I was talking to some of the big-wigs in the ruling party and they also are concerned about the possibility of a change of guard," he said. Rumours have circulated as people await results, and government has been forced to deny speculation that Mr Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980, had gone to Malaysia or was planning to impose a state of emergency. Presidential, House of Assembly, Senate and local elections were all held on Saturday, and election officials say that this is why results have been slow to come.