Mugabe party retains seat as first results from Zimbabwe recount in

Other News Materials 23 April 2008 15:10 (UTC +04:00)

The first results from a recount of votes cast in last month's elections in Zimbabwe showed President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party retaining a seat that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change had challenged, reported the dpa.

The state-controlled Zimbabwe Electoral Commmission announced that Zanu-PF hung onto the Goromonzi West seat in the 210-seat House of Assembly.

The constituency is one of only two where a recount was demanded by the MDC, which won the Assembly vote held alongside parliamentary elections on March 29.

Zanu-PF has demanded a recount of 21 constituencies.

The MDC claimed that the results posted outside polling stations in Goromonzi West had shown it winning the seat but that this was not reflected in the final result.

The recount, which started Saturday, also covers votes cast for president in the 23 constituencies, despite the presidential results not yet having been released.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has claimed victory over Mugabe in the presidential poll but Zanu-PF says that election was too close to call.

Meanwhile, a state-controlled newspaper Wednesday urged Zimbabwe's neighbours to broker talks on a government of national unity led by Mugabe.

The call marks a departure from Zanu-PF's previous calls for a runoff vote between Mugabe and Tsvangirai - calls the MDC had rejected.

The paper claimed the socio-economic environment in Zimbabwe was "not conducive and the country's political dynamics so distorted" that a free and fair runoff was "literally impossible."

"Accordingly, the most viable and safest way forward is for the SADC (Southern African Development Community) to mediate negotiations for a transitional government of national unity."

Because there been no outright winner in the election, the paper asserted, such a government should be led by Mugabe.

The unity government would hold a referendum on a new constitution drafted with the help of SADC members and the international community before organizing "fresh free and fair elections," the editorial continued.

It was not clear to what extent the article reflected ruling party thinking. The MDC had yet to react.