Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Polls close in harmonised Zimbabwe Elections

Zimbabwe harmonized polls to elect a president, parliamentarians and other sub-national political officers has come to a close with the country’s electoral commission providing an extension of five hours to polling stations where voters are still queuing to vote. Voting which began at 5am GMT saw a larger turnout at most polling stations in the urban areas and has been described by observers to be peaceful, smooth and orderly apart from a general trend of voters being turned away because their names are not in the voters roll or they do not have proper identification or their names are in a different ward. According to SADC and AU observers, the electoral process has been peaceful, smooth so far apart from minor glitches. “So far so good," said Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president of Nigeria who is leading the AU observer mission, after visiting a polling station in Harare and provisionally declared the elections free & fair at the close of the polls. The presidential contest which is mainly between the incumbent President, 89-year-old Robert Mugabe, and current Prime Minister, 61-year-old Morgan Tsvangirai includes three other candidates - Welshman Ncube, leader of the breakaway MDC-Mutambara; Dumiso Dabengwa of the Zimbabwe African People's Union (Zapu), and Kisinoti Munodei Mukwazhe, who represents the small Zimbabwe Development Party (ZDP). After casting his votes, Morgan Tsvangirai told reporters this is a historic moment for everyone to complete the delayed runoff from 2008. ”I am winning resoundly”. President Mugabe who cast his vote together with his family at Mhofu primary school in Highfield Township, Harare told journalists afterwards that "I will serve five years if I win, I will not cheat my people if they vote for me." Presidential results are expected to be released five days after the close of poll and If no candidate receives 50% + 1 of valid votes in the first round, a second round will be conducted between the top two candidates on September 11, 2013. The elections is the first held under the new constitution approved in a referendum in March this year. AEP Get the latest news and updates on elections in Africa by following us on twitter @africanelections and like our facebook page

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