The African Union gives its blessing despite noting shortcomings
Problems included voters getting turned away and biased media, they say
Opposition leader calls the vote "null and void" after Mugabe's party declares win
[Breaking news alert, 9:47 a.m. ET Saturday]
President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party has claimed a two-thirds majority in parliament after Wednesday’s election, according to results released Saturday by Zimbabwe’s electoral commission. Presidential results are to be announced late Saturday.
As Zimbabweans awaited presidential election results, the ruling party declared victory Thursday as the opposition dismissed the vote as a “huge farce.”
However, its observers did note several shortcomings.
Problems included voters getting turned away, late publication of polling stations and media taking sides, the African Union observers said in a statement released Friday.
Even so, the continent-wide body said, “The Mission observes generally, that from a historical perspective and in comparison to the 2008 elections, Zimbabwe has made an important transition in the conduct of its elections.”
Mugabe’s party declared victory a day later even though the electoral commission has not released official results. The opposition dismissed the vote as a “huge farce.”
On the other hand, Tsvangirai has called the vote “null and void,” alleging widespread fraud.
Mugabe, 89, has been at the helm since 1980, the only president the nation has known since it gained independence from Britain. A win would extend his time in office to 38 years.
The election marks an end to an uneasy coalition government between the two leaders formed after violence marred the last poll. At least 200 people were killed and thousands were injured in post-election violence in 2008.
The election commission has until Monday to announce the official results.