Regional leaders call for Zimbabwe poll result
Lusaka, April 13, 2008
Southern African leaders called on Sunday for the expeditious release of results from Zimbabwe's election after a two-week delay that has raised fears of violence.
Zambian Foreign Minister Kabinga Pande told reporters a 13-hour summit in Lusaka had "urged the electoral authorities in Zimbabwe that verification and release of results are expeditiously done in accordance with the due process of law".
He said the summit of the 14-nation Southern African Development Community had also urged President Robert Mugabe to ensure that a possible run-off vote against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai be held "in a secure environment".
The opposition and human rights organisations have accused Mugabe of orchestrating a systematic campaign of violence in response to his ZANU-PF party's first defeat in a parliamentary election on March 29.
No results have been released yet from the parallel presidential vote but Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change says he won outright and that Mugabe's 28-year rule is over.
The summit ran almost 10 hours over schedule and ended around 5 am (0300 GMT). A senior Zambian official said earlier the delay was caused by a disagreement among leaders over whether the post-election impasse should be called a crisis.
But Pande, in response to questions, said: "It is not a crisis at all."
In Harare, an electoral official said 23 constituencies in the election would be recounted, raising new uncertainty over the vote and opening the possibility that ZANU-PF could overturn its defeat in the parliamentary poll. -Reuters