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Zimbabwe opposition drops challenge to election results

Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) [party website] on Friday dropped [press release] a legal challenge against the recent presidential election results, claiming that they would not receive a fair hearing. President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile] who has governed Zimbabwe since it gained its independence in 1980, and his ZANU-PF [party website] party were named the election winners on July 31. MDC filed a motion for Zimbabwe's constitutional court to overturn the election result. Despite declining to challenge the election further, outgoing Prime Minister and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai vowed [Reuters report] that MDC would continue its fight to restore democracy by other means, including forcing foreign companies to turn over majority stakes to local black citizens.

Recently Mugabe has faced scrutiny by several groups besides the MDC. Earlier in August prosecutors from the US Attorneys Office for the Northern District of Illinois unsealed [JURIST report] a criminal complaint against two men for illegally lobbying US lawmakers on behalf of Mugabe. In February three UN independent human rights experts urged [JURIST report] the government of Zimbabwe to respect international human rights including privacy and freedom of association, in light of growing hostility toward civil society organizations. Last January Human Rights Watch issued [JURIST report] a report stating that Zimbabwe must reform its current legislative and electoral environment.

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