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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Opposition Charges Massive Fraud in Zimbabwe Elections

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Zimbabwe's main opposition party said an investigation into last week's parliamentary election indicated massive electoral fraud in at least 30 seats won by the ruling ZANU-PF party.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change said Wednesday that in 11 races the winning ZANU-PF candidate got more votes in the official returns than the government's own electoral commission said were cast in those races.

In each case, the MDC said its candidate had an unassailable lead, polling more than half the official total of votes cast. However, the official returns showed 183,000 more votes than the electoral commission said were cast.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party was declared the winner of 78 of Parliament's 120 elected seats. The MDC got 41 seats, and one seat went to an independent candidate. Under Zimbabwe law, Mugabe appoints 30 more members of Parliament.

The U.S. Embassy also criticized the election Wednesday, issuing a statement that expressed "particular concern at the lack of transparency in the tabulation of vote counts" and the role of police and ruling party officials in polling and counting.

Nyathi said the MDC limited its analysis to the 30 seats because the electoral commission refused to release figures for other races, a decision he said "indicates widespread irregularities" in those other areas.

The MDC comparison of official final returns in the 30 races with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission's official numbers for votes cast found what Nyathi called "serious and unaccountable gaps" between the two figures. In the 30 races alone, if found it could not account for more than 183,000 ballots.