Mugabe government appeals against third day of voting

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The Independent Online

The Zimbabwe government appeared to seek a compromise last night over a High Court ruling that allowed voting in the country's presidential election to be extended for a third day.

Patrick Chinamasa, the Justice Minister, said polling stations would be allowed to stay open in the capital Harare and the nearby Chitungwiza settlement, where long queues of voters had formed.

But, he added, the ruling to allow voting to continue nationwide could not be met because, in some areas, ballot boxes had been returned. Earlier, Mr Chinamasa said he would launch a Supreme Court appeal against the ruling. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change had claimed tens of thousands of people were being disenfranchised by delays at polling stations. An hour after the official poll closing time (7pm in Zimbabwe), riot police charged a Harare polling station, chasing away some 3,000 people waiting to vote.

State radio said one third of the 5.6 million voters cast ballots on Saturday, but the Registrar General said one in seven in Harare, where MDC has strong support, was able to vote.

The Foreign Office said two Britons were arrested with one American in eastern Zimbabwe for allegedly carrying illegal radio equipment.

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