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Page last updated at 15:25 GMT, Saturday, 26 April 2008 16:25 UK

Zimbabwe opposition 'holds gains'

MDC Morgan Tsvangirai
Mr Tsvangirai says he won presidential and parliamentary polls

Recounts of ten seats in last month's parliamentary election in Zimbabwe have confirmed the original results, the state-run Herald newspaper says.

Analysts say the outcome means it is increasingly unlikely that the ruling Zanu-PF party can regain its majority, which it lost to the opposition MDC.

The electoral commission said it expected recounts for 13 more seats to be completed by Monday.

Results from the parallel presidential poll remain unreleased.

US Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer said the level of government intimidation in Zimbabwe was now so high that a fair run-off would not be possible.

She said the only solution was an inclusive government, led by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Recount unfinished

The state-run Zimbabwe Herald newspaper reported on Saturday that the ZEC had released seven new recount results, which showed the ruling Zanu-PF party retaining two seats, the opposition MDC four seats and a breakaway MDC group holding the seventh.

It also said the ruling party had previously held two other seats, while the MDC had retained one, from the vote held on 29 March.

However, correspondents say the release of results has been haphazard and there has been no official statement from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission itself, which told the BBC on Saturday that it refused to comment on the results.

LOWER HOUSE SEATS
MDC and allies - 110 seats before recount
Zanu-PF - 97 seats before recount

23 seats subject to recount
10 of these unchanged, according to state-run media
13 seats still being recounted
Zanu-PF needs to gain nine of these 10 to be sure of a majority

MDC spokesman Nqobizitha Mlilo told the BBC the recount results "only serve to confirm what we've always said in the past, that... we won this election hands down".

There is still no word on the presidential election, although there are reports that results will be released when the parliamentary recount ends.

The MDC says its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, won the election outright, while independent monitors say he fell just short of the 50% threshold to avoid a run-off.

Zanu-PF also says there is likely to be a run-off, as no candidate gained more than 50% of the vote.

The results come a day after the MDC's main Harare office and the headquarters of an independent monitoring network were raided by police.

Opposition supporters being arrested
The police say they were looking for those behind political violence

Police said they had arrested 215 people suspected of involvement in political violence.

The opposition said those detained had been taking refuge from attacks by ruling party activists in other parts of the country, and told the Associated Press news agency they included pregnant women and men with broken bones.

Computers and documents were also seized in the raid.

The MDC says its activists have been attacked around the country - with at least 10 killed - since the elections.

But the police and Zanu-PF say that no-one has died in political violence.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has fled Zimbabwe, fearing for his safety and is touring African countries, trying to persuade them to press President Robert Mugabe to step down.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was concerned about "worsening violence" in the country and pledged to step up diplomatic efforts at the UN Security Council in the coming days.

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