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Vote Counting Underway In Zimbabwe

Harare (July 31, 2018): Vote counting has started in Zimbabwe’s first general election since long-term President Robert Mugabe was pushed out of office last year.

Electoral officials said turnout at Monday’s vote averaged 75 per cent. “It is our view that the high voter turnout is indicative of the sound voter education and publicity conducted on a receptive electorate,” Priscilla Chigumba, electoral commission chief, told reporters in the capital, Harare.More than five million people registered to take part in the closely contested elections. The electoral body said 90 per cent of the polling stations had opened on time by 8am local time (05:00 GMT).

In the capital, Harare, long queues of voters were formed for several hours prior to the opening of the polls, before easing by mid-afternoon. Polls closed at 17:00 GMT.Twenty-three candidates are competing for the presidency, with incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75, of ZANU-PF facing stiff competition from the youthful Nelson Chamisa, the 40-year-old leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Previous elections in Zimbabwe were marred by intimidation and threats but campaigning and voting this time have been relatively peaceful.For the first time since 2002, election observers from the European Union and United States were allowed to monitor the process.

Elmar Brok, the EU’s chief observer, said that that voting went smoothly in some cases but was disorganised in others.

“We have seen cases where people waited for six hours because of bad organisation,” he said from Harare.

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