JOHANNESBURG – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled the country for 33 years, was re-elected president in an election declared a “farce” by rival Morgan Tsvangirai.
Zimbabwe’s electoral commission announced Saturday that Mugabe, 89, had received 61 percent of the vote, compared with 34 percent for Tsvangirai, the current prime minister and leader of the Movement for Democratic Change party, or MDC.
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 previous elections – while expressing mild concern about voting irregularities.
The European Union on Saturday raised doubts about the polling.
“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,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement.
The concerns of Britain and the EU raise the possibility that the EU, which lifted sanctions against Mugabe and senior government figures in March, may reimpose them.
Tsvangirai said the results were a “farce” and should be declared “null and void” but ruled out violence, calling for a new election. He said his party had evidence of massive vote rigging.
For Tsvangirai’s party, the parliamentary vote was catastrophic. It won 50 seats, compared with 158 for Mugabe’s ZANU-PF.