BREAKING NEWS: Zimbabwe election results delay


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Zimbabwe election results delay
BBC News Online

Voter turnout was said to be very low
Final results from Zimbabwe's one-candidate presidential election have been delayed, election officials say.

They said they hoped they would be able to announce the results on Sunday - a day later than originally expected.

President Robert Mugabe was said to have won by a wide margin, after the opposition boycotted the vote amid claims of violence and intimidation.

But international observers have reported many spoilt ballots, which in some areas could outnumber votes cast.

Earlier, officials said the count was complete, but later reports said results from rural areas were still trickling in.

"Tonight we cannot give the results. I don't want to give a time-frame, but I hope it will be tomorrow," Utoile Silaigwana, the deputy chief elections officer for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, told Reuters news agency.

Mr Mugabe is expected to be sworn in on Sunday for another term in office.

Call for sanctions

Contrary to the state-run newspaper's report of a massive turnout in Friday's election, the head of the Pan-African parliament observer mission in Zimbabwe said turnout had been "very, very low".

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network, a monitoring group, reported that people in most rural areas had been forced to vote.
But Zimbabwean journalist Brian Hungwe says that in some cases, voters expressed their anger against the violence by calling Mr Mugabe a murderer on the ballot papers.

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), announced he was pulling out of the election on Sunday.

But his name remained on ballot papers after Zimbabwe's electoral authorities refused to accept his decision.

Mr Mugabe came second to Mr Tsvangirai in the first round of the presidential vote in March.

Since then, the MDC says some 86 of its supporters have been killed and 200,000 forced from their homes by militias loyal to Zanu-PF.

The government blames the MDC for the violence.


Diplomatic efforts

US President George W Bush has called for strong international action against what he called the "illegitimate" government of Zimbabwe.

In a statement, Mr Bush said his secretaries of state and the treasury were working on the penalties. He added he would press for international action, including an arms embargo.

He said the move was in response to "the Mugabe regime's blatant disregard for the Zimbabwean people's democratic will and human rights".

Meanwhile, diplomatic efforts are continuing to try to find a solution to the crisis.

Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula has said sanctions against Zimbabwe are unlikely to work, and that Mr Mugabe and the opposition should instead be encouraged to talk.

He was speaking at a meeting of African Union (AU) foreign ministers in the Egyptian town of Sharm el-Sheikh, before a full meeting of heads of state on Monday which Mr Mugabe is expected to attend.
 
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Kuhani

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Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula has said sanctions against Zimbabwe are unlikely to work, and that Mr Mugabe and the opposition should instead be encouraged to talk.
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