(dpa) - The High Court in Zimbabwe's capital Harare said Tuesday it would treat an application by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) seeking the immediate release of results from recent presidential elections as urgent.
The court ruling means Zimbabwean's 10-day wait for the results of the election, in which MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has already claimed victory over longtime President Robert Mugabe, could soon be over.
The MDC had petitioned the court at the weekend for an order forcing the state-controlled Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to announce the results.
Tsvangirai claims he took 50.3 per cent of the vote but an independent electoral observation group said a sample of results showed neither he nor Mugabe would likely win the election outright.
Zimbabwe's electoral law calls for a runoff within 21 days of the first round in that case.
Mugabe's Zanu-PF party claims ZEC officials rigged the result in Tsvangirai's favour in some places.
Seven ZEC employee were due to appear in court later Tuesday on fraud charges for allegedly underestimating the 84-year-old leader's tally by around 5,000 votes in four constituencies, South African radio quoted a police spokesman as saying.
The MDC has accused Zanu-PF of trying to buy time so that Mugabe can prepare for a runoff that the opposition fears will be violent.
On Monday, the European Union, the United States and United Nations called on the election commission to quickly announce the results.
Zanu-PF is also challenging its defeat in the 210-seat House of Assembly, where it took 97 seats to the MDC's 109. The party accuses the MDC of vote buying in 16 constituencies - although Mugabe was accused of same for handing out tractors, computers and other equipment on the campaign trail.