State-Run Paper Predicts Run-Off in Zimbabwe

Opposition claims victory based on polling-place tallies
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2008 8:20 AM CDT
Zimbabweans listen to a radio as they await the results of the country's elections in Harare Wednesday, April 2, 2008.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Zimbabwe’s opposition party declared victory today, after finishing its independent tally of polling place results. But the state-run newspaper is predicting a run-off, a sign that Robert Mugabe intends to fight to keep power, the Guardian reports. According to the opposition poll, challenger Morgan Tsvangirai won the vote 50.3% to 43.8%, squeaking by the 50% mark needed to prevent a run-off.

The opposition poll is based on counts posted outside of polling places on election day. The newspaper, meanwhile, printed no actual results and named no sources, instead attributing its report to “analysts.” One Mugabe insider tells the New York Times that as the election results went against the president, his inner circle considered rigging the vote or even killing Tsvangirai, but ultimately decided a run-off could be won if more effort is made to get rural voters out.