Zimbabwe sets date for election run-off

ZIMBABWE said yesterday it would hold a delayed presidential election run-off on June 27, when the opposition hopes to oust veteran leader Robert Mugabe after nearly three decades in power.

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai will return to Zimbabwe today to start his run-off campaign after a court overturned a police ban on the opposition’s first rally since it claimed victory in the country’s disputed March 29 elections.

The second round is being held because official results showed Mr Tsvangirai beat Mr Mugabe in the first round, but not by enough votes to avoid a run-off.

Mr Mugabe told a ruling ZANU-PF party conference yesterday the result had been “disastrous”, and vowed he would not lose power to an opposition he said was backed by “a hostile axis of powerful foreign governments” and Western imperialists.

Zimbabweans are hoping the poll will help end political and economic turmoil and put their country on the road to recovery. But analysts said there was no quick fix after years of decay and the widespread violence that followed the March vote.

“A poll shall be taken on Friday June 27, 2008, for the purpose of electing a person to the office of president,” a notice in a government gazette said.

Former guerrilla leader Mr Mugabe, 84, had already said he would participate in the run-off.


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