Ban urges Zimbabwe to postpone Friday's run off prez elections

Other News Materials 24 June 2008 09:50 (UTC +04:00)
Ban urges   Zimbabwe to postpone Friday's run off prez elections

United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon has urged the Zimbabwe authorities to postpone Friday's run off presidential elections because of continuing violence and the "understandable" decision by the opposition candidate to withdraw from the polls, the EI.com reported.

"Conditions do not exist for free and fair elections right now in Zimbabwe," Ban told reporters.

"There has been too much violence, too much intimidation. A vote held in these conditions would lack all legitimacy."

The Secretary-General, who has been in touch with a number of African leaders on the ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe, said that they all agreed that the elections should be postponed until the right conditions are in place.

"I would strongly discourage the authorities with going ahead with the run-off on Friday. It will only deepen divisions within the country and produce a result that cannot be credible," he stated.

Yesterday, Morgan Tsvangirai of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), announced he was withdrawing from the June 27 run-off in which he was set to face President Robert Mugabe.

The country has been marred by deadly political violence since the first round of the presidential election on March 29 with the opposition saying that its supporters are being beaten up and even murdered by the Mugaba's supporters, a charge which the government denies.

"The campaign of threats and intimidation we have seen in Zimbabwe goes against the very spirit of democracy," said the Secretary-General. "Instead of openness, free competition and transparency, we have witnessed fear, hostility and blatant attacks against Zimbabwean citizens."