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Zimbabwe opposition stands firm against runoff

  • Story Highlights
  • Movement for Democratic Change leaders reiterate decision, party official says
  • Party contends Morgan Tsvangirai already defeated President Robert Mugabe
  • More meetings planned, decision not final, opposition party members say
  • If opposition doesn't participate in vote, Mugabe retains office
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HARARE, Zimbabwe (CNN) -- The vice president of Zimbabwe's opposition party said top party officials on Saturday reaffirmed their decision not to participate in a runoff for president.

Opposition party offical Thokozani Khupe says, "The verification process was not done properly."

However, Movement for Democratic Change party members said that more meetings are planned this weekend, and that the decision isn't final.

Should party leaders refuse to support a second round of voting, President Robert Mugabe will retain the office.

Opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai is consulting with political leaders in the region in hopes they can persuade Mugabe to step down, a Tsvangirai spokesman said. Find out details on the Zimbabwe election »

Tsvangirai will make an announcement Sunday about his runoff plans, the spokesman said.

MDC Vice President Thokozani Khupe, who held a news conference Saturday, said pressure also was being placed on the ruling party, ZANU-PF.

Tsvangirai was traveling to Ghana to meet with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Khupe said.

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The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on Friday released official results from the March 29 election, showing that Tsvangirai won 47.9 percent of the vote, compared with 43.2 percent for Mugabe. Video Watch what's next for the MDC »

Under Zimbabwe law, a runoff is needed because neither candidate got a tally of 50 percent plus one vote.

However, the MDC contends Tsvangirai already won the office with 50.3 percent of the vote in a previous tally, and therefore another election is unnecessary. The opposition party also won a majority in parliament. That race also was held March 29.


"We need to be convinced that there is need for a runoff. The verification process was not done properly," Khupe said, referring to the two-day process by the election panel that led to Friday's official announcement of election results.

"In other words, there is a deadlock resulting from the failure to execute its duties as required by the law." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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