Foreign Affairs Minister Micheál Martin tonight called on the international community to restore democracy in Zimbabwe after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai quit the run-off election.
Mr Martin said he was saddened but not surprised by the decision to pull out of Friday’s poll.
Mr Tsvangirai claimed the election was no longer credible and the loss of life among his supporters too high to continue.
“I hope that the international community – including the United Nations Security Council and Zimbabwe’s neighbours – can come together to find a way to restore democracy in the country,” Mr Martin said.
“The people of Zimbabwe have suffered enough in recent weeks.”
Mr Tsvangirai addressed a news conference in Zimbabwe’s capital after thousands of militants loyal to Mr Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party prevented opposition supporters from gathering for its main campaign rally.
It is estimated that more than 80 people have died in pre-election political violence while Mr Tsvangirai has been detained himself.
Mr Martin added: “I’m saddened but not surprised by the decision by Morgan Tsvangirai.
“Understandably he realised that free and fair democratic elections were impossible.”