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Zimbabwe opposition party to take part in elections under protest

[JURIST] Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) [party website] will field candidates in the country's parliamentary elections to be held next month. MDC contends, however, that the polls will not be fair and free and will participate under protest:

More than ever the electoral playing field remains uneven and unequal. Rule of law concerns have not been addressed. The media remains muzzled. Free assembly is proscribed by the Public Order Security Act. The recently appointed Electoral Commission is yet to prove its independence. The shambolic voter’s roll continues to be the principal vehicle for electoral fraud. The Constituency boundaries have been subjectively gerrymandered whilst militias and militia bases continue to multiply. International observers continue to be unwelcome.
Read the full MDC press release announcing its participation in the elections. The protest stems from accusations that Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe [Wikipedia profile] used violence and electoral fraud to rig the 2002 presidential election. Both the EU and the United States imposed sanctions [State Department press release] on Mugabe as a result. Mugabe has promised to abide by regional democratic guidelines and has set up a national electoral commission. However, the MDC says the changes do not go far enough and that the elections should be postponed to allow for more reforms to be passed. BBC News has more.

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