Zimbabwe rivals upbeat amid tight vote

Zimbabwe rivals upbeat amid tight vote

Zimbabwe is awaiting the results of its landmark elections, with both frontrunners saying they are confident. President Emmerson Mnangagwa said he

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Zimbabwe is awaiting the results of its landmark elections, with both frontrunners saying they are confident.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa said he had received “extremely positive” information but opposition leader Nelson Chamisa said his party was “winning resoundingly”.

[ads1]Zimbabwe is voting for both a new president and parliament.

Monday’s vote – the first since long-serving ruler Robert Mugabe was ousted – attracted a high turnout of 75%.

The youth vote is expected to be key – with almost half of Zimbabwe’s 5.6 million registered voters under the age of 35.

This election is also the first to allow European Union and US monitors in more than a decade.

Observers say the race between Mr Mnangagwa’s Zanu-PF party, and Mr Chamisa’s MDC Alliance, is extremely tight. Both men are among 23 candidates running for president.

They both hinted at victory on Tuesday, but said they were waiting for the electoral commission to announce official results, which are due by Saturday at the latest.

They are running for the presidency for the first time, and need more than 50% of the vote to win outright.

Otherwise, a run-off election will be held on 8 September.

What are foreign observers saying?
European Union chief observer Elmar Brok said it was too soon to make a judgement but voting had been “very smooth” in some areas and “totally disorganised” in other areas, Reuters news agency quotes him as saying.

“There are shortcomings that we have to check. We don’t know yet whether it was a pattern or whether it was a question of bad organisation in certain polling stations,” Mr Brok told the AFP new agency.

As well as worries about the voters’ roll, the opposition has expressed concern over the security of ballot papers and voter intimidation in mainly rural areas.

Liberia’s former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who was monitoring the poll on behalf of the US-based National Democratic Institute, told the BBC that Monday’s long queues showed Zimbabweans were enthusiastic about voting, without any kind of repression.

“I think this is an exciting moment for Zimbabweans to change the course of their country through their votes,” she told the BBC.

Source: BBC