Mugabe under pressure after losing parliamentary vote

Other News Materials 3 April 2008 11:59 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Zimbabweans were eagerly awaiting the results of last weekend's presidential vote Thursday after final official results from concomitant parliamentary elections showed his Zanu-PF party soundly beaten by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Final official results from 210-seat House of Assembly (lower house of parliament) election showed the MDC taking 109 seats against 97 for Mugabe's Zanu-PF. Independent candidate, former information minister, Jonathan Moyo took a seat and three others are vacant, where the candidates died before the election and a by-election must be held.

Of the MDC vote, 99 were taken by the largest party faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai. The remaining 10 went to a smaller breakaway faction, led by Arthur Mutambara, an academic.

Five days after the elections the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has yet to release results from the presidential vote. Analysts have predicted a stinging defeat for Mugabe given his party's result.

The MDC has already declared Morgan Tsvangirai victorious with 50.3 per cent of the vote based on its own unofficial vote count.

If confirmed, there would be no need for a runoff vote between Tsvangirai and Mugabe being talked up in state-run media required, if no candidate takes more than 50 per cent plus one ballot.

Saturday's elections, which got a qualified thumbs-up from African observers despite the presence of police in polling stations and other irregularities, was seen mainly as a vote on the economic chaos wrought by Mugabe's policies, which have resulted in 100,000-per-cent inflation and brought millions to the brink of starvation.

Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.