JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who at 89 has ruled the country for 33 years, was reelected president in an election declared a “farce” by rival Morgan Tsvangirai.
Zimbabwe’s electoral commission announced Saturday that Mugabe received 61% of the vote, compared with 34% for Tsvangirai, the current prime minister and leader of the Movement for Democratic Change.
The vote has been condemned as seriously compromised by the largest local observer group, the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network. African observers have commended the election for being peaceful — in contrast with past violent elections — while expressing mild concern about voting irregularities.
The European Union on Saturday raised doubts, citing voting irregularities and a lack of transparency.
“The EU is concerned about alleged irregularities and reports of incomplete participation, as well as the identified weaknesses in the electoral process and a lack of transparency. The EU will continue to follow developments and work closely with its international partners in the weeks to come,” said EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in a statement.
Tsvangirai said the results should be “null and void” but ruled out violence, calling for a new election.
“The fraudulent and stolen election has plunged Zimbabwe into a constitutional, political and economic crisis.” he said. “The MDC is resolved to pursue peaceful, democratic and constitutional remedies to this crisis.”
He said his party had evidence of massive rigging.
“People of Zimbabwe must be given another chance to participate in a free, fair and credible election. They have been shortchanged by a predetermined election,” he said.
For Tsvangirai’s party, the parliamentary vote was catastrophic. It won 50 seats, compared with 158 fior Mugabe’s ZANU-PF, giving the ruling party the power to change the constitution at will. Two other seats went to independents.