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Zimbabwe polls close after calm day

Latest update : 2008-03-29

Elections ran smoothly in Zimbabwe as voters cast their ballots to determine whether Robert Mugabe would remain president, after petrol bombs exploded outside the home of a ruling party candidate early in the morning.

Polls began closing in Zimbabwe on Saturday after voters cast ballots for parliament and president with incumbent Robert Mugabe battling to extend his near three-decades rule.
   
AFP correspondents posted outside polling stations said officers began closing doors at 7:00 p.m. (1700 GMT) after 12 hours of voting but allowed people who were still queueing to cast their ballots to do so, rather than turn them away.
   
Voting passed mostly calmly, according to police.
   
Turnout in parts of the country appeared low, according to polling officers, but participation figures were not immediately available.
   
Some 5.9 million voters were eligible to pick a president as well as members of the national assembly and nearly 2,000 local councils.
   
Mugabe, who has ruled the former British colony uninterrupted since independence in 1980, is up against former finance minister Simba Makoni and Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
   
Mugabe said he would accept results even if he is defeated.
   
Counting was to commence at polling stations minutes after the closure and partial results were expected to start trickling in shortly after counting ended.

Date created : 2008-03-29

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