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Mugabe heading for ‘massive win’ in polls

world Updated: Jun 28, 2008 22:29 IST

Reuters
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Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is heading for a landslide victory in a one-candidate election boycotted by the opposition and is expected to be sworn for a new term on Sunday, government sources said.

The sources told Reuters official tallies from two-thirds of polling stations showed Mugabe, 84, defeating opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai by a huge margin in a poll widely condemned as a sham.

Tsvangirai's name remained on ballot papers after electoral authorities refused to accept his decision to withdraw a week ago on the grounds of violence against his supporters. He has taken refuge in the Dutch embassy since then.

"The tallies are indicating that despite the wishes of our detractors and the propaganda of our enemies, the voter turnout was very big and that we are going to see a landslide victory," said one of the officials, who declined to be identified.

"If the official results are released today as we are all hoping, the indications are the inauguration will be tomorrow," he added

A Sunday inauguration would be in time for Mugabe to attend an African Union summit in Egypt on Monday.

Witnesses and monitors reported a low turnout in many areas in Friday's election, which was widely condemned after Tsvangirai withdrew, saying almost 90 of his supporters had been killed in systematic violence by Mugabe's supporters.

They said that voters in some places had been forced to vote for the president, who has held uninterrupted power for 28 years.

Tsvangirai said that millions of people stayed away from polling stations despite systematic intimidation.

The opposition leader and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) won presidential and parliamentary elections on March 29 but Tsvangirai fell short of the majority needed for outright victory. The decision to go ahead with the poll brought unprecedented condemnation of Mugabe from inside and outside Africa and the vote was widely dismissed as illegitimate.

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