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Delayed Election Results Spark Riots in Zimbabwe

Irregularities have been alleged
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 1, 2018 1:25 PM CDT
Police block dozens of opposition party supporters from entering the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission offices in Harare, Zimbabwe, on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
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(Newser) – Rioting erupted Wednesday in Zimbabwe's capital as opposition supporters clashed with police and army troops over delays in announcing results from the presidential election, the country's first since the fall of longtime leader Robert Mugabe. The security forces opened fire with guns, water cannons, and tear gas, and protesters burned cars and threw rocks as helicopters hovered above Harare, the AP reports. A lifeless body was seen near the demonstration. Dark smoke rose near the offices of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission where protesters burned tires and at least two vehicles. The commission postponed announcing results of Monday's tightly fought presidential race, pitting President Emmerson Mnangagwa against opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.

The commission said it would release vote totals "sometime" Thursday, even though it said most of the results "are here with us." Agents for all 23 candidates must verify them first, it said. The ruling ZANU-PF party won a majority of seats in Parliament, the electoral commission said. "The more the presidential vote is delayed, the more it calls into question the population's confidence in the election process," said former Liberian leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the lead observer of a US monitoring mission. The opposition has alleged irregularities, saying voting results were not posted outside one-fifth of polling stations as required by law. Mnangagwa's government has accused Chamisa and his supporters of inciting violence by declaring he had won.

(Read more Zimbabwe elections stories.)

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