Zimbabwe opposition to challenge poll

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The Independent Online

Zimbabwe's opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said yesterday it would go to the country's electoral court in an attempt to expose the "fraud" it blames for its defeat in the general election on 31 March.

The MDC took 41 seats in the 150-seat parliament, down from 57 in 2000, while the ruling Zanu-PF party secured 78. The opposition have described the results as "predetermined" and have alleged "massive rigging" in 30 constituencies.

With President Robert Mugabe appointing 30 MPs, Zanu- PF will have the two-thirds majority required to amend the constitution.

The MDC said it was going to court after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission failed to explain glaring discrepancies between initial voting figures and the later totals it announced.

Although regional electoral observers from the Southern African Development Community endorsed the poll, the African Union has called for an investigation into the results after initially describing the outcome as "free and fair".

Both the US and the EU have denounced the election as flawed.