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Zimbabwe's opposition claims victory

world Updated: Apr 03, 2008 02:47 IST

Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on Wednesday declared its leader Morgan Tsvangirai the rightful winner of a presidential election, based on its own tally of the weekend polls.

The party's secretary-general Tendai Biti said Tsvangirai had won 50.3 per cent and President Robert Mugabe had won 43.8 per cent. "That means he (Tsvangirai) is above the 50 per cent threshold needed to avoid a run-off," Biti said.

"Put simply he has won this election ... Morgan Richard Tsvangirai is the next president of the Republic of Zimbabwe, without a run-off."

Biti added, however, "The state media has already begun to prepare the people for a run-off in 21 days." "If that is the position this party will contest the run-off."

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said that the delay in publishing Zimbabwe's election results was a "calculated tactic" fueling suspicion authorities did not want to accept them.

"A delay in announcing the outcome can only be seen as a deliberate and calculated tactic," he said in a statement on Zimbabwe in the House of Commons.

"It gives substance to the suspicion that the authorities are reluctant to accept the will of the people," Miliband added.
He said that there was "an international consensus that the will of the Zimbabwean people must be properly revealed and respected.