Tuesday, August 20, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE, REUTERS) Election ‘seriously compromised’: ZESN
01/08/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter I Reuters

WEDNESDAY’S election was "seriously compromised" with up to a million people prevented from voting, local observer group, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), 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.

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

"We've buried the MDC," 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.

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.
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 Tsvangirai gaining more votes than Mugabe.



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