Analysis: Zimbabwe Waits
Council on Foreign Relations
March 31, 2008
Author: Stephanie Hanson
Informal results and news reports indicate that the opposition gained ground in the presidential vote in rural areas traditionally loyal to Mugabe. Results—posted at individual polling stations for the first time—quickly circulated (WashPost) throughout the country the day following the election. As local observers learned of the numbers, many proclaimed the vote a “tsunami for MDC” (NYT). Yet the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, an international nongovernmental organization, says sources within the electoral commission indicate Mugabe will claim victory, despite polling only 20 percent of the vote.
The election bears a resemblance to Zimbabwe’s 2002 polls, after which the opposition also claimed early victory. Amid widespread reports of vote rigging, Mugabe was pronounced the election’s winner with 52 percent of the vote. Yet unlike in 2002, experts say the posting of results by precinct has given this election some measure of transparency.
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