Change in Zimbabwe

HARARE, Zimbabwe – The main opposition party claimed outright victory Wednesday for its leader Morgan Tsvangirai, saying he had won 50.3 percent of the vote compared to 43.8 percent for President Robert Mugabe.

The ruling ZANU-PF party rejected the opposition’s claims, saying that it would await the full results from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, which has not yet published the outcome of Saturday’s presidential poll.

The state Herald newspaper, meanwhile, predicted a runoff in the first official admission that Zimbabwe’s autocratic leader of 28 years has failed to win re-election. A presidential candidate needs at least 50 percent plus one vote to avoid a runoff.

However, Movement for Democratic Change general secretary Tendai Biti said there was no need.

“We maintain that we have won the presidential election outright without the need for a run-off,” Biti told a news conference.

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