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The BBC's Alan Little
"A widening gulf between the cities and the countryside"
 real 28k

MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai
"Zimbabwe will never be the same again"
 real 28k

Prof Jonathan Moyo, Zanu-PF
"We are delighted that we have another mandate to govern"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 27 June, 2000, 13:08 GMT 14:08 UK
Zimbabwe opposition cries foul
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai congratulated by voters
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai: Mixed emotions
Zimbabwe's main opposition party is to challenge the results in 20 constituencies following its narrow defeat in Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai said it would seek a recount or take legal action in constituencies which it lost by less than 500 votes.

But he also said it was important to look to the future, form a constructive opposition in parliament and not get bogged down in legal squabbles.

President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party won 62 seats in the weekend elections, performing stongly in rural areas, while the MDC captured 57 seats, predominantly in urban constituencies.

The results are the first serious losses for President Robert Mugabe's governing Zanu-PF party in its two decades in power.

The MDC leader failed to win in his rural constituency, but with more than one-third of the seats in the new parliament, the MDC will be able to block any constitutional changes.

This is the end of President Mugabe ... The sooner he starts planning his retirement the better

Morgan Tsvangirai

He added that they would have won the election were it not for months of brutal intimidation of his supporters.

Three ruling party ministers also lost their seats, but could still remain MPs as President Mugabe can appoint 20 members of the 150-member parliament. A further 10 MPs are elected by traditional chiefs.

One seat went to the Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole's small Zanu-Ndonga party.

There has been no word yet from President Mugabe.

'Fresh start'

UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook called on the ruling party to make a fresh start, and work with the opposition.

Mr Cook said the strong result for the opposition showed a real wish for change despite violence and gerrymandering.

How will Mr Mugabe react to the opposition gains?

The prospects for co-operation though look remote, with Mr Tsvangirai already ruling out taking part in any national unity government.

MDC election director Paul Nyathi told the BBC: "We are going to make a very big difference in the parliament.

"We will make sure it is not business as usual for Zanu-PF and that the will of the people for change is paid attention to, as opposed to what has been happening in the past 20 years."

About 65% of registered voters are estimated to have turned out in the polls - the highest level of voting since the first post-independence elections of 1980.

International and local observers have generally agreed that the polling itself went smoothly, but European Union observers highlighted serious irregularities in the electoral process.

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27 Jun 00 | Africa
Fugitive farmer becomes MP
27 Jun 00 | Africa
Zimbabwe results reaction
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