Zimbabwe opposition rejects presidential vote tally

Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change said on Friday it would reject results of a presidential election that would force a run-off against veteran ruler Robert Mugabe, reported Reuters.

Official data showed the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai won 47.9 percent of the vote, beating Mugabe with 43.2 percent, but not enough to escape a second round contest with Mugabe.

The result has yet to be officially announced.

The MDC says Tsvangirai won 50.3 percent of the vote and that the reign of Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980, is over.

"It appears the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is determined to announce its result but certainly it will be rejected by us. It will be rejected because we will have not finished the process," said Tsvangirai's representative Chris Mbanga.

"There is that urgency to announce the result but we will not be part of it. There are indeed some big differences in some constituencies and we are saying we want to verify them," he told reporters during an adjournment in a process to verify the poll results which began on Thursday.

Asked how long this was likely to take, Mbanga said: "It can take days, weeks, months ... It took us 30 days to get to this process so we are saying why hurry?"

Election officials released the figures to candidates on Thursday after a month-long delay that had raised fears of widespread bloodshed in the country suffering economic ruin.

The official figures matched those leaked to Reuters earlier in the week by government officials, in a sign the ground was being prepared for a run-off. By law, that should be held within 21 days of a result being announced.

Tsvangirai has raised doubts over whether he would take part in a second round and has been out of the country since shortly after the vote, trying to keep up international pressure on Mugabe, 84.

However, Tsvangirai has suggested he could contest a second round if international observers led by the United Nations monitored the process. The main international observer group at the first round was from Zimbabwe's neighbors.

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