Zimbabwean opposition mulls over run-off vote
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The opposition MDC party said it would decide within the next few days whether or not to take part in a presidential run-off vote against President Robert Mugabe, who earlier pledged to accept the result of a new round. (Report: N.Rushworth)
Zimbabwe's main opposition party leaders will meet "within days" to decide whether or not to take part in a presidential election run-off against President Robert Mugabe, a spokesman said Saturday.
"We are yet to set a date but it will be within days," Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), told AFP, referring to a meeting of the party's national council.
Mugabe's party has already said its leader will take part in the run-off.
Zimbabwe election officials on Friday announced former trade union boss Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, had won in the first round against his longtime rival Mugabe but did not have an outright victory.
The opposition has rejected the results, saying Mugabe had stolen its victory.
"We have a national executive meeting today to assess the situation after burglars and thieves... stole the people's vote," Chamisa said.
The national executive is less powerful than the national council in the MDC, which snatched the majority in parliament from Mugabe's Zimabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) in the March 29 polls.
The party's secretary general, Tendai Biti, was in Johannesburg in neighbouring South Africa on Friday and Tsvangirai was also believed to be in the city but Chamisa said the party was in regular contact with them.
"We are constantly in touch and we have sufficient communication for the president to give us proper direction," the party spokesman said.
Official results released Friday said Tsvangirai won 47.9 percent against 43.2 percent for the 84-year-old Mugabe in the first round.
The MDC dismissed the results as "scandalous," insisting Tsvangirai had won the election without the need for a run-off.
ZANU-PF in turn accused the opposition of bribing election officials and taking money from Australia, Britain and the United States.
"The external factor was very strong in seeking to influence and determine the outcome of the elections," Emmerson Mnangagwa, a minister and top Mugabe aide, told reporters after the announcement of the results.
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