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Slight Lead for Opposition in Zimbabwe Parliamentary Elections


Zimbabwe's main opposition party - the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) - is claiming victory in Saturday's general elections, but the country's electoral commission said late Monday the opposition has only a slight lead.

With 89 of the 210 parliamentary seats declared so far, the ruling ZANU-PF party has won 43, while the DMC and its breakaway faction has taken 46 seats.

No results from the presidential election are available, more than two days after the end of voting, fueling fears of vote-rigging.

The United States expressed concern over election results delay and urged the election commission to publish them as quickly as possible.

U.S. State Department spokesman, Tom Casey said Monday the electoral commission should put aside partisan sympathies and ensure an honest and accurate vote count.

Also Monday, seven European foreign ministers, from France, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Great Britain, expressed concern over the situation following elections in Zimbabwe and urged a swift announcement of all official election results, especially the results of the presidential election.

The election commission chairman, George Chiweshe blames the delay on the complexity of the vote - for president, for members of parliament and for local officials - and the need to verify results.

Mr. Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since it gained independence in 1980. He was opposed in the election by Mr. Tsvangirai and independent candidate Simba Makoni, a former Mugabe ally who broke with the ruling party.

If no presidential candidate wins a majority, the two top contenders will compete in a runoff.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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