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The BBC's John Simpson in Harare
"A savage blow to a man used to having everything his own way"
 real 28k

President Robert Mugabe
"The results are out and these do bind us all, loser and winner alike"
 real 28k

MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai
"Zimbabwe will never be the same again"
 real 28k

Prof Jonathan Moyo, Zanu-PF
"We are delighted that we have another mandate to govern"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 27 June, 2000, 22:31 GMT 23:31 UK
Mugabe calls for unity
mugabe
Robert Mugabe: "The results bind us all"
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has called for national unity, after his governing Zanu-PF party suffered serious electoral reverses for the first time since the country's independence.


I look forward to working with the new parliament as together we grapple with the pressing challenges of improving the livelihood of our people and developing our nation

Robert Mugabe
After spending the pre-election period attacking white farmers, he struck a conciliatory note, saying in a televised address that he wanted unity across race, tribe and ethnicity.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) won 57 seats against Zanu-PF's 62 in the elections over the weekend.

The combined opposition has never held more than three seats before.

Racial divide

Mr Mugabe, 76, appoints a further 20 members to the 150-seat parliament, giving Zanu-PF a comfortable majority.

The president could further benefit from the election of 10 traditional chiefs to parliament later, at least some of whom are likely to be loyal to his party.

But the MDC will provide his first credible opposition since independence 20 years ago.


The president has already told the MDC they will not be invited into the Cabinet, but he said: "The results... do bind us all, loser and winner alike."

He said Zimbabwe needed unity more than ever before "across race, tribe, ethnicity, across regions, across class."

During the election campaign, Mr Mugabe branded the opposition as puppets of the country's small, but economically powerful, white community and stooges of Britain, the former colonial power.

Morgan Tsvangirai
Morgan Tsvangirai: Call for constructive opposition
Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the MDC, has already said his party intends to be a constructive opposition.

UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has called on Mr Mugabe to make a fresh start, and work with the opposition.

Mr Cook said the strong result for the opposition showed a real wish for change.

Violent campaign

The voting on Saturday and Sunday came after months of violence that left more than 30 people dead, which European Union observers said was largely carried out by government supporters.


mdc
The MDC attracted voters with its call for change
The MDC has said it will seek a recount or take legal action in constituencies which it lost by less than 500 votes.

Mr Mugabe, referring to critics among the observer force, said: "Some... much in the mould of the Victorian civilising mission, thought they had come to pacify, give virtue, and thus redeem us, the natives.


Our next parliament is certainly destined to prove very lively, but hopefully lively in a positive way

Robert Mugabe
"Today the majority of them go away both humbled and educated, convinced and highly impressed how we do things here, how against the background ... of a divisive colonial legacy, we are all striving to overcome."

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See also:

27 Jun 00 | Africa
Zimbabwe opposition cries foul
27 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Cook calls for fresh start in Zimbabwe
27 Jun 00 | Africa
Fugitive farmer becomes MP
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