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Elections

Zimbabwe opposition contests Mugabe win and 'super majority'

Robert Mugabe has been declared the winner of the presidential election in Zimbabwe, his party having also appeared to have won a critical majority in parliament. The opposition has said it will challenge the results.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has won a seventh term in office, with officials saying on Saturday that he won 61.9 percent of the vote compared with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's 33.9 percent.

The results were announced by election commission chairwoman Rita Makarau. "Mugabe, Robert Gabriel, of ZANU-PF party, is therefore declared duly elected president of the Republic of Zimbabwe with effect of today," said Makarau.

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said it would challenge the election result in court and would exhaust "all legal remedies" in doing so. Tsvangirai. The elections were for both the presidency and for parliament.

Mugabe declared winner

"There is national mourning in the country," said Tsvangirai, after early figures were released showing that Zanu-PF had taken over two-thirds of the 210 seats - more than 150 in all - in the Zimbabwean parliament.

"Once all remedies have been exhausted, the people of Zimbabwe should be allowed a fresh opportunity to freely and fairly elect a government of their choice. In this regard, a credible, free, fair and legitimate election must be held as soon as possible," said Tsvangirai.

The MDC also said on Saturday that it would not legitimize the results by taking part in the government.

"We will not engage in institutions of government. We will not join government," said Tsvangirai.

A two-thirds parliamentary majority would allow the Mugabe government to make constitutional changes. Mugabe lost his parliamentary majority for the first time in 2008, when the country was still struggling with a decade-long slump and crippling hyperinflation.

The opposition's vow that it will not accept the results of the July 31 election has stirred fears of a return to the violence that engulfed the country after contested election results in 2008.

Differing opinions

The African Union said shortly after polling stations closed that the election had been "peaceful, orderly, free and fair."

However, foreign diplomats have privately described the election, to which most Western observers were denied access, as "fundamentally flawed."

The European Union on Saturday said it was concerned about alleged irregularities.

Among the complaints are allegations that voter lists were doctored to exclude voters, so that a victory could be ensured for Zanu-PF. Pro-government factions are also accused of seeking to swell the vote in Mugabe's favor by the use of "ghost" and duplicate voters.

rc/dr (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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