March 30, 2008

A WHOOPIN':

Mugabe apparently faces major defeat in Zimbabwe: The 84-year-old president looks to be bested by the leader of the main opposition -- but critics worry about vote fraud. (Robyn Dixon, 3/30/08, Los Angeles Times)

The main opposition party and independent observers said today that President Robert Mugabe was suffering a resounding defeat as election results were tallied, but no official returns were released and capital was rife with speculation that they were being rigged.

Tension was high in the capital, Harare, with police deployed on most corners as the delay in announcing results from Saturday's balloting wore on. Usually, the first official results are released within hours of the polls' closing.

There were unconfirmed reports that key ministers and Mugabe loyalists lost their seats in parliament.

In a briefing to diplomats, independent election observers said that with 66% of the vote counted, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai, had 55% of the vote. Mugabe, 84, had 36% and ruling party defector Simba Makoni had 9%, it said.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 30, 2008 7:34 PM
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