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British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook
"The elections were a triumph for the democratic spirit"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 28 June, 2000, 02:25 GMT 03:25 UK
World welcomes peaceful Zimbabwe elections
MDC supporters celebrating in Harare
Opposition supporters have celebrated the result
Foreign governments have welcomed the conduct of the election in Zimbabwe, while expressing regret at the violence which characterised the campaign.

The UK Goverment also urged President Mugabe to work with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change for the good of the country's people.

Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said the time was right for "national reconciliation in Zimbabwe".

Robin Cook
Robin Cook: Mugabe must now work for national unity

Mr Cook said he hoped the president would "recognise the clearly-expressed will of the people for a fresh start".

The campaign had been marred by "deplorable violence", he said, and constituency boundaries had been deliberately redrawn to favour Zanu-PF candidates.

"The remarkable thing in these circumstances is how many of the people of Zimbabwe braved the violence and voted for change," Mr Cook said.

"Almost half of them voted for a new beginning. Despite the climate of fear, the people of Zimbabwe showed they expect and they deserve a much greater level of democracy."

Thabo Mbeki
Thabo Mbeki: Poll has boosted African democracy

South African President Thabo Mbeki also expressed regret at the violence which he said had "engulfed" Zimbabwe before the election, but said the big turnout was a very positive sign.

"South Africa is particularly heartened by the massive turnout of ordinary people impelled by the desire to shape the destiny of their own country," Mr Mbeki said in a statement.

"The holding of these elections in Zimbabwe should help add impetus to the advancement of democracy not only in southern Africa but indeed the entire African continent."

Mr Mbeki's ANC party said the relatively peaceful poll had "confounded the prophets of doom".


The people have spoken. We must respect their will and I rejoice with them

UN head Kofi Annan

The United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan also welcomed the outcome, and pointed to the strong showing of opposition candidates.

"The elections in Zimbabwe were very closely fought elections," he said.

"Both parties did their best, and I notice that the opposition party is happy with their result.

"The people have spoken. We must respect their will and I rejoice with them," he added.

Commonwealth view

Commonwealth observers said incidents of violence and intimidation had impaired voters' freedom of choice.

But the chairman of the Commonwealth Observer Group, Nigerian General Abdulsalami Abubakar, said his team had been greatly encouraged by the turnout.

"The counting process was, we found, commendably transparent," he said in a statement.

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See also:

27 Jun 00 | Africa
Mugabe calls for unity
27 Jun 00 | Africa
Zimbabwe opposition cries foul
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