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Zimbabwe Oppn presses victory claim

However, election officials say there is no outright winner of the March 29 election, with Tsvangirai getting 47.9 per cent votes and Mugabe getting 43.2 per cent.

world Updated: May 03, 2008 23:02 IST

Zimbabwe's opposition on Saturday reiterated claims of an outright election victory against President Robert Mugabe, saying a run-off was "unnecessary", as tensions in the country mounted.

"We are convinced that the run-off is unnecessary," Thokozani Khupe, deputy leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, told reporters after a meeting of senior party members in the capital Harare.

But Khupe also appeared to leave open the possibility of a second round, saying: "In the unlikely event of a run-off, the MDC will once again romp to victory by an even bigger margin."

The party's candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, was in neighbouring South Africa from where he has pushed for Mugabe to step down. He took part in the talks via a video link-up, said party spokesman George Sibotshiwe.

Last month, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa accused Tsvangirai of treason.

Tsvangirai was to make a formal announcement on Monday and the national council, the party's main policy body, was to meet "within days", party spokesmen said, without giving further details.

Election officials on Friday said there was no outright winner of the March 29 election, with Tsvangirai getting 47.9 per cent and Mugabe getting 43.2 per cent. They called a run-off between the two at a date yet to be announced.

The run-off has to take place within 21 days of publication of the results.

It is an unprecedented development for a country where the 84-year-old Mugabe has had a stranglehold on power since independence in 1980.