Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Polls Open in fiercely contested Zimbabwe Elections

Millions of registered Zimbabwean voters will tomorrow are at the polls to elect a president among five candidates which includes the incumbent President, 89-year-old Robert Mugabe, and current Prime Minister, 61-year-old Morgan Tsvangirai as well as elect Parliamentarians and other sub-national political officers. At a polling station at the Alexandra Park Primary School in Harare's north suburb, hundreds of policemen who had failed to cast ballots in early voting queued from 5 a.m. to vote. They were given priority to vote before being deployed to duty. Civilian voters, some in thick quilts, formed a long throng outside the polling station at 4 a.m. in Harare's chilly winter morning. According to ZEC, a total of 9 735 polling stations will be opened continuously from when voting starts at 7am and closes at 7pm and has employed over 96,000 poll workers with each polling station being serviced by at least 10 polling officials. This election will be the first harmonized poll under the country's new constitution and for the presidency; the winner is decided by an absolute majority. 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. This is the third attempt by Tsvangirai, 61, a former trade unionist, to unseat the 89-year-old Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since independence in 1980. Both pundits and politicians have described this as a "watershed" election for the top candidates, whose careers hang in the balance and possibly see an end unity government, which has been shaky and rife with mutual mistrust. 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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