Morgan Tsvangirai to compete in run-off

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has said today that he will be standing for the presidential run-off election against incumbent Robert Mugabe.

"The MDC has decided that we will contest the run-off election," he told reporters at a conference in Pretoria, South Africa, where he has been staying for the last month. He said his supporters would feel "betrayed" if he didn't stand and that the people are "ready for the final round".

Despite the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission's (ZEC) official declaration that Mr. Tsvangirai won 47.9% against Mr. Mugabe's 43.2% in the first round, the MDC claims that they won it outright, gaining over 50%. They are sure that Mugabe's Zanu-PF party have used the time since the first round to rig votes and intimidate the electorate.

The MDC has also called for "unfettered access of all international observers," eventhough Mr. Mugabe has imposed bans on journalists from outside Zimbabwe reporting within the country.

The ZEC has yet to announce when the run-off will take place, but Mr. Tsvangirai said it should take place by 23 May.