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'Zimbabwe leader wins against Mugabe'

world Updated: May 02, 2008 20:30 IST

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has won the first round of a presidential election against Robert Mugabe with 47.9 per cent of the vote, an election official said on Friday.

Mugabe won 43.2 per cent of the vote and since neither candidate won more than 50 per cent, a second round run-off will have to be held, Lovemore Sekeramayi, chief elections officer, told reporters in Harare.

"Since no candidate has received the majority of the valid vote cast... A second election shall be held on a date to be advised by the commission," he said, referring to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

Under Zimbabwe election law, the run-off has to be held within 21 days after the announcement of the result.

Former finance minister Simba Makoni, widely expected to back Tsvangirai in any run-off, came third in the vote with 8.3 per cent, Sekeramayi said.

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change has claimed an outright victory over Mugabe in the March 29 election based on its own calculations and said ahead of the announcement that it would reject a result that showed otherwise.

Speaking before the announcement, Chris Mbanga, Tsvangirai's representative at all-party talks hosted by the electoral commission in Harare, said the commission was not listening to the opposition.

"We have been denied the opportunity to verify the result and they're going ahead to announce the original results and now we are taking the matter to our political leadership," Mbanga said before leaving the meeting.