Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mugabe Wins Again in Zimbabwe, Leaving Rival Greatly Weakened

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mugabe Wins Again in Zimbabwe, Leaving Rival Greatly Weakened

Article excerpt

HARARE, Zimbabwe -- President Robert Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since it threw off white rule in 1980, won another term Saturday as the official results were announced for last week's disputed election, defeating his main challenger with 61 percent of the vote and roaring back to secure his grip on power after having to share it for the past five years.

The results were announced by the Zimbabwe Election Commission on Saturday, moments after the challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai, denounced the voting, saying it had been rigged.

"This fraudulent and stolen election has plunged Zimbabwe into a constitutional, political and economic crisis," Mr. Tsvangirai, who won 33 percent of the vote, said in a news conference at his house. He demanded that a new election be held so that Zimbabweans could "freely and fairly elect a government of their choice."

But how this would be achieved is unclear. Mr. Tsvangirai can go to court, which he said he planned to do, but the higher courts in Zimbabwe are filled with Mr. Mugabe's loyal appointees.

Rugare Gumbo, a spokesman for Mr. Mugabe's party, ZANU-PF, called on Mr. Tsvangirai to accept the results.

"He must accept the will of the people of Zimbabwe," Mr. Gumbo said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also cast doubt on the validity of the election in a statement Saturday. "In light of substantial electoral irregularities reported by domestic and regional observers, the United States does not believe that the results announced today represent a credible expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people," Mr. Kerry said.

But election observers from the African Union have declared the vote peaceful and credible. Regional observers noted problems with the election, but did not dismiss it as unfair.

Mr. Mugabe's party also won more than two-thirds of the seats in parliament, giving it a supermajority that can make changes to the constitution without the support of any other parties, including Mr. …

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