Mugabe Agrees To Runoff

HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe accepted that the opposition's Morgan Tsvangirai won more votes in the presidential election and will contest a runoff in a political battle that has raised fears of bloodshed.

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change cried foul after Zimbabwe's electoral body announced on Friday that he had won 47.9 percent of the vote but faces a runoff after failing to gain enough votes for an outright majority.

The MDC described the announcement of the long-delayed result as "scandalous daylight robbery." It says Tsvangirai won more than 50 percent of the vote in the March 29 election and Mugabe's 28-year rule is over.

But Mugabe's old foe has few options. If Tsvangirai refuses to take part in a second round, Mugabe would keep his hold on power according to electoral law. The MDC said it would decide this weekend whether to contest a runoff.

An aide to Mugabe said the president accepted the result of the first round and would contest a runoff.

"The presidential result as announced do not reflect the genuine expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people given the many anomalies, malpractices, deflation of figures relating to ZANU-PF candidates," chief election agent Emmerson Mnangagwa told reporters.

Western powers expressed doubt that a runoff could be fair.