Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Zimbabwe voting for change

Results from Zimbabwe's parliamentary election released Monday indicates longtime President Robert Mugabe's ruling party, Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, will lose its majority in the lower house of parliament. Results have been trickling in but so far Mugabe's party nearly even in seats with Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change, but five seat have been won by a breakaway opposition party that is likely to combine with MDC. Seven of Mugabe's cabinet ministers had lost their parliamentary seats as of Monday, according to the Reuters international news service. Tsvangirai said his party would announce its own tally of the results on Wednesday out of dissatisfaction with the slow pace of the count. Opposition leaders have expressed concerns that the slow count reflected an effort by the ruling party to fix the vote, as they suspect happened in 2002, when Mugabe was re-elected. Projections in the vitally important presidential race show Tsvangirai getting 50 percent of the vote, but maybe not enough to avoid a runoff with Mugabe. Many Zimbabweans blame Mugabe and his party for the collapse of the country's economy, which used to be one of Africa's success stories but now suffers from the world's highest inflation rate, and recurrent shortages of food and fuel. Mugabe has been Zimbabwe's president for more than 28 years. U.S. President George W. Bush called Mugabe a "discredited dictator" in a speech last month.

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