Tsvangirai sets terms for run-off

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The Independent Online

The Zimbabwean opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has softened his party's stance on boycotting a run-off presidential vote by setting conditions on participation, distancing himself from a statement by the secretary-general of his Movement for Democratic Change at the end of last week.

Mr Tsvangirai, in an interview yesterday, said that he would only participate in a second-round presidential run-off if it is run by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and on condition that all international observers are admitted to witness the poll.

"Any run-off election has to be conducted under SADC and it has to be run transparently, freely and fairly. Every observer who wants to witness it ought to be allowed in," he said. His comments were in contrast with those of the MDC secretary-general, Tendai Biti, who said the MDC "will not participate in a run-off".

However, Mr Tsvangirai insisted that he was the winner of the presidential election and should be allowed to form an "inclusive government" to concentrate on the business of rebuilding Zimbabwe.

"SADC leaders must understand that the issue here is not about mere figures. The issue is that Mugabe lost badly and must give up power," he said. "Mugabe is delaying the inevitable. The people's will will prevail."

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