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Tsvangirai withdrawal: Key quotes

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said he is pulling out of the presidential run-off vote on 27 June.

The following are key quotes from, and reaction to, his announcement in the capital, Harare.

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI, MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE

Morgan Tsvangirai announces he is pulling out of the run-off

We in the MDC have resolved that we will no longer participate in this violent, illegitimate sham of an election process.

The courageous people of Zimbabwe, and the people of the MDC, have done everything humanly and democratically possible to deliver a new Zimbabwe and a new government.

Conditions as of today do not permit the holding of a credible poll. Given the totality of these circumstances, we believe a credible election is impossible.

We in the MDC cannot ask [people] to cast their vote on the 27th when that vote would cost them their lives.

On 27 June, Mugabe has declared war, and we will not be part of that war.

Our victory is certain, but it can only be delayed.

PATRICK CHINAMASA, ZIMBABWE JUSTICE MINISTER
This is the 11th time that Tsvangirai has threatened to withdraw from the presidential run-off and on each occasion I have challenged him to put it in writing as required by the law.

Tsvangirai went into the election thinking that it was a sprint and was not prepared for a marathon and wants to avoid defeat. He spent his time globe-trotting and gallivanting in Europe and left MDC-T supporters without leadership.

We are proceeding with our campaign to romp to victory on Friday.

The MDC-T has stolen our campaign material to disturb their own rally for purposes of propaganda as they seek to have the international community intervene in our domestic affairs.

JEAN PING, CHAIRMAN OF THE AFRICAN UNION COMMISSION
This development and the increasing acts of violence in the run-up to the second round of the presidential election are a matter of grave concern to the Commission of the AU.

The chairperson of the Commission stresses the need for all Zimbabwean stakeholders to exercise restraint and reiterates his call for an immediate end to all acts of violence.

SIKHANYISO NDOLVU, ZIMBABWE INFORMATION MINISTER

Mugabe's information minister on Tsvangirai's decision

It's a sure case that President Mugabe will win resoundingly. Now this is what Tsvangirai has been advised. Rather than face humiliation and defeat of that magnitude, he has been advised not to stand for the run-off election.

Unfortunately he is depriving the people of Zimbabwe to vote, to exercise their franchise, and vote him out, because the people have realised that he is just a stooge.

THABO MBEKI, SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT

From our point of view it is still necessary that the political leadership of Zimbabwe should get together and find a solution to the challenges that face Zimbabwe.

So I would hope that that leadership would still be open to a process which would result in them coming to some agreement about what happens to their country and that is most certainly what we would try to encourage.

LEVY MWANAWASA, ZAMBIAN PRESIDENT

Zambia's president calls for Zimbabwe to cancel run-off election

There is no need to be ashamed in announcing that the presidential run-off should be called off until further notice.

Elections held in such an environment will not only be undemocratic but will also bring embarrassment to the region and the entire continent of Africa.

MARWICK KHUMALO, HEAD OF PAN AFRICAN PARLIAMENT OBSERVER MISSION

The announcement by the president of the MDC was not something unexpected... particularly considering the fact that the violence was not on the decrease. If anything it was escalating. Here is a situation whereby one party is not free to campaign; one party has no access to public or state media; one party is not allowed to travel the length and breadth of this country as it pleases. So it became clear to some of us that it's becoming more and more a one-sided election.

SPOKESMAN FOR BAN KI-MOON, UN SECRETARY GENERAL

"The circumstances that led to the withdrawal of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai today from the presidential elections represents a deeply distressing development that does not bode well for the future of democracy in Zimbabwe...

The campaign of violence and intimidation that has marred this election has done a great disservice to the people of the country and must end immediately."

CARLTON CARROLL, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN

The government of Zimbabwe and its thugs must stop the violence now.

All parties should be able to participate in a legitimate election and not be subject to the intimidation and unlawful actions of the government, armed militias and so-called war veterans.

DAVID MILIBAND, UK FOREIGN SECRETARY

David Miliband says the UK does not recognise Mugabe's legitimacy

"The stage was set for the most rigged election in African history. The failure is not of the opposition but of the government. Robert Mugabe and his thugs made an election impossible.

It is clear that the only people with democratic legitimacy are those who won the parliamentary majority on the 29th of March and who took most votes in the first round of the presidential election and that was of course the opposition."

BERNARD KOUCHNER, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER

This man, and I am speaking of Mr Mugabe, who believes he has been designated by God... is nothing but a crook and a murderer...

He (Tsvangirai) has thrown in the towel because his party supporters and especially the activists are being murdered.

It is out of the question for France to accept this fake election which would have a single candidate... and there is no question of accepting the result. This is really the biggest denial of democracy that Africa has known.

OFFICE OF JAVIER SOLANA, EU FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF

Javier Solana... considers that the withdrawal of Mr Morgan Tsvangirai... is understandable, given the unacceptable systematic campaign of violence, obstruction and intimidation lead by the Zimbabwean authorities, which has continued for several weeks.

In these conditions, the elections have become a travesty of democracy. They are certainly not worthy of the African continent of today.





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