Zimbabwe Update: Run-off Decision Unconfirmed
Movement for Democratic Change, Zimbabwe's main opposition party, has not yet confirmed whether its candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, will battle incumbent Robert Mugabe in a run-off election. The MDC maintains that the original vote was tampered with, and evidence of election-related violence and intimidation continues to stack up. However, one source, the Zimbabwe Independent, states that Tsvangirai will indeed be competing in the run-off (please see 3rd source below).
A delegation is to visit South Africa to consult MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai before making a final decision.
Mr Tsvangirai has not ruled out taking part. Incumbent President Robert Mugabe would win automatically if he did not.
On Friday the MDC rejected first-round results that gave Mr Tsvangirai the most votes, but not outright victory.
Mr Mugabe has accepted the official results of the 29 March election, and confirmed he would stand in a run-off. No date has been set.
Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe accepted that the opposition's Morgan Tsvangirai won more votes in the presidential election and will contest a run-off in a political battle that has raised fears of bloodshed.
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) cried foul after Zimbabwe's electoral body announced on Friday that he had won 47.9 percent of the vote but faces a run-off after failing to gain enough votes for an outright majority.
The MDC described the announcement of the long-delayed result as "scandalous daylight robbery". It says Tsvangirai won more than 50% of the vote in the March 29 election and Mugabe's 28-year rule is over.
But Mugabe's old foe has few options. If Tsvangirai refuses to take part in a second round, Mugabe would keep his hold on power according to electoral law. The MDC said it would decide at the weekend whether to contest a run-off.
MAIN opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai will contest the looming presidential election run-off despite his public remarks to the contrary.
This came as the presidential election candidates or their agents yesterday met Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) officials to tackle the crisis triggered by the withholding of results — more than a month later — due to a demand by President Robert Mugabe for a recount of the votes.
Yesterday’s emergency meeting took place against a backdrop of a fresh problem sparked off by ZEC’s leakage of official results to defeated Zanu PF leaders who in turn passed them on to the international media in a bid to sustain their pursuit for a run-off.
The MDC says Zanu PF has deployed state security forces — the army, police and intelligence units — across the country to campaign for Mugabe.
This, it says, has triggered a wave of violence nationwide, which has claimed more than a dozen lives and left a climate of fear. A bruising political campaign is expected in the run-up to the run-off.
Although Tsvangirai insisted he would not enter a run-off, information gleaned from documents on the deal between the two MDC factions to work together in parliament shows he will take on Mugabe in the second round.