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Zimbabwe opposition calls ruling party move for recount 'illegal'

[JURIST] The ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) [party website], led by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], on Sunday demanded a recount of the March 29th presidential election [JURIST report], amid opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) [party website] accusations that the move is illegal. The MDC defeated ZANU-PF in the parliamentary vote, but the Electoral Commission of Zimbabwe has not yet announced a winner in the presidential election. The MDC has said that a recount has no legal basis and is a sign that Mugabe would resort to violence to stay in power.

In an appearance later Sunday, the MDC will ask the Harare High Court to immediately compel the Electoral Commission to release the election results. The MDC filed its lawsuit [JURIST report] Friday; on Saturday the Court postponed a hearing on the suit [JURIST report] when lawyers for the MDC were barred from entering the the court as armed police blocked the entrances and forced journalists to leave the area. Though no official tally has been released, independent observers say that MDC candidate Morgan Tsvangirai [BBC profile] won the most votes but likely not enough to reach the 50 percent plus one needed for outright victory. The MDC and ZANU-PF have each indicated that they may be willing to participate in a run-off [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.

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