Anxious Zimbabwe awaits presidential results as European Union mission notes election flaws

Zimbabwe election results Could the opposition party win

A minister at the Foreign Office, Harriet Baldwin, said the situation was being monitored "closely".

The government late Wednesday vowed to enforce a security crackdown to prevent further unrest after the army opened fire to disperse opposition protests in Harare, leaving at least three people dead.

Gunfire crackled as troops, backed by armoured vehicles and a military helicopter and some with their faces masked, cleared the streets of opposition protesters.

Police patrol outside the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission offices as opposition supporters gather, in Harare, Zimbabwe, on August 1, 2018. Officers responded with tear gas and water cannon.

The opposition "are testing our resolve", he said, "and I think they are making a big mistake".

"We are just waiting to see what they will do next since they don't want us in town". The results are a gimmick to try and prepare Zimbabwe for a rigged election. "We don't accept that", Biti said. Why are the army here beating us?

This was the first time western observers were allowed to monitor the democratic process in Zimbabwe for nearly two decades.

"The presidential results were counted first in the polling stations therefore I have still to learn why it will be published last".

Agents for all 23 candidates must verify them first, it said.

The main candidates in that race are ZANU-PF's candidate, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took over after longtime leader Robert Mugabe's resignation in November, and opposition leader Nelson Chamisa of MDC.

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But, is there a possibility that the opposition MDC-Alliance which has lost most of the Parliamentary seats to win the Presidential contest?

The presidential results are yet to be announced.

The MDC also questioned the pace of releasing results from the presidential vote.

Global monitors gave their first assessments of the election, saying it was conducted in a relatively free environment and was a big improvement over past votes marred by violence and irregularities, although they noted significant problems.

Yet several of those observers, including a team sent by the European Union, have expressed doubts about how the elections have been conducted - noting concerns such as "intimidation of voters, [the electoral commission's] lack of transparency in preparations, media bias and some problems around polling stations on election day".

The opposition has spoken of vote-rigging, saying results were not posted outside a fifth of the country's almost 11,000 polling stations.

Mr Mnangagwa's Government has accused Mr Chamisa and his supporters of inciting violence by declaring he had won. "We had to consult among ourselves whether it would be safe", said one worker who declined to give his name.

On Tuesday, Biti alleged at a press conference at MDC headquarters in Harare that the authorities were delaying the publication of results because MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa had won the presidential election. "We won the popular vote & will defend it!"

The violence was an unnerving reminder of the tensions that pervade the southern African nation.

Mnangagwa had promised a free and fair vote after the military ushered him to power when Mugabe was forced to resign. "The process must be credible and transparent, then whoever wins this election, Zimbabwe can move on, and the people of Zimbabwe can be the real winners".

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