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The BBC's Greg Barrow in Harare
"Zimbabweans believe they have written a new page in their history"
 real 28k

MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai
"I have no regrets"
 real 28k

Pol Nielson, EU Development Commissioner
"A new start is a possiblility"
 real 28k

Cathy Olds, widow of murdered farmer Martin Olds
"I am very disappointed"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 27 June, 2000, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
Close win for Mugabe's party
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai congratulated by voters
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai pushed Zanu-PF close
President Robert Mugabe's governing party has gained a narrow victory in Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections, while suffering serious losses for the first time in its two decades in power.

Officials announced that Zanu-PF had won 62 of the 120 directly-elected seats with the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) winning 57 seats.


MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai 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.

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.

As expected the MDC won by a huge margin in the towns and cities including Harare and Bulawayo. The ruling party did similarly well in the countryside.

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

Mr Tsvangirai said that his party would mount a legal challenge to the results from constituencies where there had been serious manipulation.


In many of these constituencies, they have only won through intimidation

MDC legal adviser David Coltart

And he insisted that the MDC as a young party had done extraordinary well..

"This is the end of President Mugabe," he said. "Zimbabwe will never be the same again."

There has been no word from President Mugabe.

High turnout

In the cities, support for Mr Mugabe's party almost vanished.

It failed to win a single consitutuency in the capital. In other urban areas, senior ministers, such as those for justice and home affairs, lost their seats.


Morgan Tsvangirai
No seat for Morgan Tsvangirai
But as expected, Zanu-PF did well in outlying areas, with war veterans leader Chenjerai Hunzvi, who spearheaded the often violent invasion of hundreds of white-owned commercial farms, winning his rural constituency with a large majority.

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

MDC election director Paul Nyathi

"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."

The results were delayed by six hours because of an unexpectedly high turnout, the Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede said.

Irregularities

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.

police
Police have been deployed against possible unrest

Our correspondent in Harare says concerns that the vote would be subject to wholesale rigging by the government had been eased by the strong showing for the opposition.

This in turn, he says, is likely to reduce fears of violence in the immediate future.

Earlier the police commissioner, Augustine Chihuri, who has deployed extra officers around the country, appealed to all Zimbabweans to remain calm and peaceful.

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

The head of the European observer mission, Pierre Schori, said it would be incorrect to describe the whole election process as free and fair because of the pre-election violence.

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See also:

27 Jun 00 | Africa
Zimbabwe: Winners and losers
25 Jun 00 | Africa
Zimbabwe poll result warning
27 Jun 00 | Africa
Analysis: What next for Mugabe?
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