Zimbabwe says election is clean; opposition is skeptical

Zimbabwe's youth hope election outcome will end biting unemployment

Smaller wards in the urban areas are expected to be announced first while the rural votes make their way to the ZEC Centre at the Harare International Conference Centre.

Early results from the elections - presidential, parliamentary and local - are expected later on Tuesday, and full results are due by Saturday. It suggested there was a deliberate effort to delay announcing the results, reflecting deep suspicion about the panel presiding over the election.

She said she was confident there was no "cheating" and that the commission will respect the will of Zimbabweans: "We will not steal their choice of leaders".

"It is our view that the high voter turnout is indicative of sound voter education and publicity", said Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairwoman Priscilla Chigumba at a media briefing in Harare.

July's elections mark the first time the European Union and United States election monitors have been allowed into the country in years.

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If no presidential candidate wins more than 50 per cent of the vote, a runoff will be held September 8.

Counting had continued through the night after a strong turnout in Zimbabwe's first election without Mugabe, who was ousted by the military in November after 37 years in office.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights warned of intimidation and threats of violence in the run-up to polling day, but said it was encouraged to see open rallies and peaceful demonstrations.

Former Zimbabwean Leader President Robert Mugabe casts his vote at a polling station in Harare.

Why are officials results taking so long?

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"In African elections, often stakes are very high and nobody has a backup plan for losing", said John Dramani Mahama, former president of Ghana and head of the observer mission from the Commonwealth group of nations, mostly former British colonies.

The election commission has denied any allegations of vote rigging and said it had five days to release the results.

Zimbabweans are awaiting the first results from an election that they hope will lift the country out of economic and political stagnation after decades of rule by former leader Robert Mugabe.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said it had so far released results for seven parliament seats out of 210.

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