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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 April, 2005, 12:20 GMT 13:20 UK
'Extra votes gave Mugabe victory'
Woman votes in Zimbabwe
The MDC says the observers have ignored their figures
Zimbabwe's main opposition party has alleged that the ruling Zanu-PF party won last week's election through the widespread stuffing of ballot boxes.

The Movement for Democratic Change says that in at least 11 areas, the number of votes cast was boosted after the polls closed, handing Zanu-PF victory.

The MDC further says that it has been unable to obtain full results from the election commission in several areas.

The commission chairman denied the claims as "just politicking."

Discrepancies

Zanu-PF won a two-thirds majority, enabling it to change the constitution.

The results were endorsed by Southern African observers but a local group of monitors said the poll was seriously flawed.

FINAL RESULTS
Zanu-PF: 78 seats
MDC: 41 seats
Independent: 1 seat
Elected seats: 120 seats
Seats appointed by the president: 30

The MDC said that in the 11 constituencies, the number of extra votes in the final results compared to the initial turnout figures was more than the margin of victory for the Zanu-PF candidate.

It notes that these candidates were mostly ministers or senior party officials.

For example, in Mutare South, it was initially announced that 14,054 votes had been cast, the MDC says.

But the final results showed 28,575 ballots, with 16,412 for Zanu-PF and 12,163 to the MDC.

The MDC notes serious discrepancies in 19 other results in Manicaland, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East and Matabeleland South provinces.

It said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission refused to release detailed results in Mashonaland Central, Masvingo, Matabeleland North and Midlands.

ZEC chairman George Chiweshe denied the MDC's claims and said all the figures had been released.

"They were part of the whole process and had polling agents at every polling station - they have to say something but they should not mislead the nation," he told the AFP news agency.

'Calculated plan'

The MDC won 41 seats, mostly in its urban strongholds and spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said there were few discrepancies in voting figures in these areas.

"This raises further suspicions that there was a calculated plan to ensure that the MDC won a sufficient number of seats to provide the electoral process, and the end result, with a veneer of legitimacy," he said.

Mr Nyathi accused the Southern African observers of showing a "chronic lack of interest" in their figures.

The US has led international criticism of Thursday's ballot, but correspondents say President Mugabe will be concerned only with African opinion.

The MDC has not announced its next move but has ruled out launching legal challenges, saying they are a waste of time.

It took this option after parliamentary elections in 2000 but most cases had not been heard by the time the new polls were held.


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