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Terrorism & Security

Vote results delayed for fear of violence, Zimbabwe says

The country's electoral commission said releasing results from the March 29 presidential vote would be 'dangerous' as international efforts for release of poll widened.

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The opposition has called on a High Court judge to speed up publication of the results. A Zimbabwe court began a second day of hearings on the polls on Wednesday, Agence France-Presse reported, spurring opposition hopes of a release of the results. Justice Tendai Ucheni could, however, go on hearing the case for days.

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Last week, official parliamentary results released by the ZEC appeared to confirm the end of Mugabe's 28-year rule. He's widely considered responsible for the collapse of Zimbabwe's once-prosperous economy and has been widely accused of human rights abuses, reported the Associated Press. Official results showed that the MDC won 105 seats compared with Mugabe's 93 seats in the 210-seat Parliament.

The MDC also announced last week that Mr. Tsvangirai won 50.3 percent of the presidential vote compared with 43.8 percent for Mugabe.

Zimbabwe's ruling party, the ZANU-PF, however, appears to be disputing the results. At least seven officials from the electoral commission have been arrested for manipulating the results in favor of the opposition, the website reports.

The ZANU-PF has also called for a total recount of the votes. The signs from Mugabe contradict international reports from a week ago indicating that the long-time ruler of Zimbabwe was preparing to stand down, Australia's state-supported SBS news reports.

Australia's Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said the international community would have to place increasing pressure on Mugabe.

Zimbabwe's state-sponsored Herald newspaper claimed Tsvangirai had pleaded with the ruling ZANU-PF party to appoint him in a new government, claiming he "begs for Vice President post." The Herald also claimed that former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was trying to contact Zimbabwean authorities about a power-sharing deal.

Amid the disputed polls, there are increasing concerns of widespread violence, the BBC reports. Opposition figures say activists have been attacked in a campaign of violence since the elections.

There have also been reports of invasions of white-owned farms, according to the Commercial Farmers' Union President Trevor Gifford. Mr. Gifford told the BBC that some 60 farmers had fled their homes in fear of attack by mobs. The MDC also says 80 Zimbabwean opposition activists have been attacked by government-backed militias in recent days.


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