9. May 2008

Tsvangirai to take part in run-off election

On Friday, May 9, Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai finally agreed to take part in the run-off election, though he has asserted he was an outright winner in the first round of voting. He also decided to return to Zimbabwe; earlier he said he feared arrest, and instead used the time to lobby regional and international leaders. Tsvangirai, who according to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission won the first round with 47.9 percent against 43.2 percent for Mugabe, has claimed outright victory and earlier said there was no need for a run-off.
British government ministers are confident that he will win a run-off election, but while all now seems set for the vote it is unlikely to take place within the three-week period demanded by the constitution; in the interim the security situation on the ground is steadily worsening and may provide Mugabe with an excuse to postpone the election to an indefinite future.
His domestic situation worsened with the cut off of diesel fuel being imported via Botswana. The decision was explained as flowing from Botswana's own needs as the cost of oil rises, but the effect of the action by one of the openly critical Southern African Development Community leaders was the same as if it had declared a sanction. The added constraints on economic movement could extend to the military and the militias; until now the army has been given special access to fuel and vehicles. (SouthScan)

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