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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 April, 2005, 03:47 GMT 04:47 UK
Mugabe's party sweeps to victory
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe
President Mugabe wants to change the constitution
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party has swept to victory in Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections.

So far the party has taken 69 of 120 contested seats, official results show - enough to guarantee Mr Mugabe's party control of the legislature.

The opposition, which has 35 seats so far, said "disgusting, massive fraud" had been committed in Thursday's polls.

Jonathan Moyo, recently sacked as information minister, won a surprise seat as an independent.

Mr Moyo, the architect of Zimbabwe's tough media laws who fell out with the president over the appointment of the country's first woman vice-president, took the Tsholotsho constituency from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

As expected, the MDC won most of the urban constituencies in the 150-seat parliament, where 30 MPs are appointed by the president.

Mr Mugabe is now just one seat short of a two-thirds majority needed to change the constitution, to enable him to install a successor without immediately calling elections, as presently required.

'Over the moon'

The BBC's Themba Nkosi says Zanu-PF supporters have taken to the streets in celebration in northern parts of the country, but the atmosphere is more muted in the second city of Bulawayo where the MDC draws its support.

Ballot boxes already counted in Zimbabwe
MDC: 35 seats
Zanu-PF: 69 seats
Yet to be declared: 15 seats
Elected seats: 120 seats
Seats appointed by the president: 30
Surprise winner
Independent Jonathan Moyo, ex-information minister
Surprise loser
Zanu-PF Emmerson Mnangagwa, parliament speaker

Security is tight, with police patrolling the streets warning the winners not to provoke those who lost, he says.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that he was "over the moon" about his party's victory.

All Zanu-PF's hard work had paid off and the result was a vindication of the party's good policies, he said.

He rejected claims by the UK, the US and Germany that the election was "flawed".

"These were the most free and fair elections in the world," he said.

'Ghost voters'

Mr Tsvangirai accused the ruling party of stealing the election.

"We are deeply disturbed by the fraudulent activities we have unearthed," he said.

Zanu-PF supporters carrying a mock coffin
These were the most free and fair election in the world
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa

"We believe the people of Zimbabwe must defend their votes, their right to a free and a fair election - this is what has been denied," he said.

President Mugabe, who has been in power for 25 years, dismissed opposition complaints as nonsense.

Average turnout was below 50%, chief elections officer Lovemore Sekeramai said while local election observers describing the process as smooth.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network, which had some 6,000 observers in the 8,000 polling stations, says that some 10% of would-be voters were turned away, either because their names were not on the electoral roll, they did not have the right identity papers, or they were in the wrong constituency.

One man told the BBC News website that his name had been taken off the register since the last election and yet the name of his aunt was still there, although she had died six years ago.

Human rights groups say that hundreds of thousands of "ghost voters" appear on the electoral roll of 5.8 million people. They fear these entries could be used to record fraudulent votes.

Our correspondent says MDC officials were visibly shocked when the Harare South seat went to Zanu-PF, leaving them to question the voters' register and the re-drawing of constituency boundaries.

Other key results:

  • Parliament speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa, once tipped to succeed Mr Mugabe, lost in the central Kwekwe constituency.
  • MDC candidate Heather Bennett, wife of jailed MP Roy Bennett, lost his Chimanimani seat.

Why democracy is constantly on trial in Zimbabwe

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