ZEC expected to release preliminary Zimbabwe election results

ZEC expected to release preliminary Zimbabwe election results

Voting was due to finish at 1700 GMT.

Fabian Matsika, a security guard in Harare, said: "I'll vote for Chamisa because it is a vote for change, it is a vote for the youth".

"It is our view that the high voter turnout is indicative of sound voter education and publicity", said Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairwoman Priscilla Chigumba at a media briefing in Harare late Monday.

But Mnangagwa, 75, Mugabe's former right-hand man, was confident of an outright first-round win. The result of this election looks set to reveal a lot about Mugabe's relevance in modern Zimbabwe.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights warned of intimidation and threats of violence in the run-up to polling day, but said it was encouraged to see open rallies and peaceful demonstrations.

Nearly all the observers in Zimbabwe have hailed the peaceful environment in the country, saying it was conducive for free, fair and credible elections.

After a mostly peaceful contest, the success of the election will be determined by whether rival parties accept the result, with the main opposition already having complained the odds are stacked against it.

Mugabe did not answer, when asked by VOA, for whom he voted.

In Domboshawa village, about an hour's auto ride north of the capital, Harare, many had been in the queue even before sunrise.

Several civil society groups that were collating results from 10,985 polling posts in parallel with ZEC this morning but were not allowed to release results before the ZEC.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former deputy president, has promised a credible vote that he hopes will bring worldwide legitimacy and investment.

Former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe (C) his daughter Bona (C) and wife Grace cast their votes at a polling station at a primary school in the Highfield district of Harare during the country's general elections on July 30, 2018.

The opposition says results it has collected from around the country show "beyond a reasonable doubt" that Nelson Chamisa has won the presidential election.

Chamisa, 40, who raised allegations of voter fraud repeatedly during the campaign, was equally buoyant, saying that his MDC was ready to form the next government.




In some rural constituencies in the east and south of the country, counting of votes was still ongoing but was expected to end early on Tuesday, some parliamentary candidates said. The historic election is the first since the fall of longtime leader Robert Mugabe.

Mnangagwa also has expressed optimism about the results.

As well as electing a president, Zimbabweans were voting for 210 members of parliament and more than 9,000 councillors.

However if neither party wins over 50% of the vote, a runoff between Chamisa and Mnangagwa must be held on September 8, which would not include the other 21 candidates on the presidential ballot.

The pastor was acquitted of subversion soon after the resignation of Mugabe following a military takeover in November.

- European Union cites "shortcomings" - Early results of the landmark polls are expected Tuesday.

The commission says that it will start announcing results this afternoon, as they come in from around various provinces. The bloc will deliver a report on the conduct of the election on Wednesday.

She said she was confident there was no "cheating" and that the commission will respect the will of Zimbabweans: "We will not steal their choice of leaders".

"We will not subvert [the people's will]", she told journalists.

Millions of people voted peacefully on Monday in the first poll since the army removed Robert Mugabe from power past year.

Officials on Tuesday counted votes a day after millions of Zimbabweans peacefully cast their votes in a process closely watched by worldwide monitors, who have yet to announce whether the election was free and fair.

"Now we need the final count from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission".

Initial observations suggest a high turnout in the first election of the post-Mugabe era, with president and ruling party candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa and opposition coalition leader Nelson Chamisa considered the front runners.

More than five million Zimbabweans registered to take part in the poll.

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