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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Big Voter Turnout in Zimbabwe

HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Zimbabweans lined up in large numbers Thursday to vote in polls which President Robert Mugabe says will deliver a clear victory for his ruling party but which Western powers have already condemned as unfair.

Thousands of voters in the capital, Harare, defied early drizzle to cast their ballots after polling stations opened at 7 am local time, while in rural areas people turned out by bicycle and donkey cart.

Mugabe, as he voted in a poor Harare township, said the parliamentary poll would confirm the people's faith in his ruling ZANU-PF.

"I have just voted to increase the number of winning votes for ZANU-PF," Mugabe told reporters.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change also expressed confidence, although he again charged the poll was unfair and said ZANU-PF had used repressive policies to guarantee victory.

The United States and European Union have already attacked the validity of the election. Washington said Wednesday that Mugabe was exploiting food shortages for electoral advantage.

Polling stations were due to close at 7 p.m. local time. Results are expected within 48 hours.