Zimbabwe election "no longer valid," EU says
European Union officials on Monday condemned the violence which has forced the opposition challenger out of Zimbabwe's second-round presidential election, saying that the process was no longer valid, reported dpa.
The presidency of the EU's council of member states, currently run by Slovenia, said that it felt "deep concern about the systematic campaign of state-sponsored violence and intimidation that has been spiralling throughout the whole electoral process and undermined the credibility of this process."
Following the decision by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to pull out, EU Aid Commissioner Louis Michel "expressed his belief that Zimbabwe's electoral process can no longer be considered legitimate following continued extreme state-sponsored violence and intimidation," a statement from Michel's office said.
The MDC's withdrawal "is therefore clearly understandable and means this second round of the presidential election can no longer be considered valid," Michel said.
On Sunday Tsvangirai said that his party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was pulling out of the run-off election after his supporters were attacked by backers of President Robert Mugabe at a rally in Harare.
The EU's top foreign-policy official, Javier Solana, said that the decision was "understandable, given the unacceptable systematic campaign of violence, obstruction and intimidation led by the Zimbabwean authorities."
"In these conditions, the elections have become a travesty of democracy. They are certainly not worthy of the African continent of today," Solana said in a statement.
African Union leaders are set to meet in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt on June 30, and EU leaders called on the body, with which they are trying to forge closer ties, to intervene.
"We now expect that the African leaders ... will condemn in the strongest terms the current situation in Zimbabwe and will do their utmost to resolve this crisis for the sake of the Zimbabwean people and of democracy in Africa," Michel said.
Solana praised the African bloc's leaders "for their efforts in seeking to persuade the Zimbabwean leadership to see reason."