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US Presses for Release of Zimbabwean Presidential Results


The United States Wednesday pressed Zimbabwe's electoral commission to release results of country's presidential election without further delay. The State Department said presidential returns reflecting the will of the Zimbabwean people are critically important. VOA's David Gollust reports from the State Department.

Officials here say parliamentary results already released show that Zimbabwe is at a "moment of change," and that there is no reason to further delay presidential returns that could end the suspense over the country's political future.

At a news briefing, State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack noted official results already pointing to a takeover of Zimbabwe's parliament by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, and cited claims by supporters of MDC presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangerai that he won an outright majority in last Saturday's presidential vote.

McCormack said the electoral commission owes the Zimbabwean people an official accounting of presidential ballots to enable them to understand how the country's political future will unfold.

"It is critically important for Zimbabwe, for Zimbabwe's institutions, for the international community, that this election and the results of this election, reflect the will of the people," he said. "And you're not going to be able to start to answer a lot of those questions until you have this one piece of the puzzle that's outstanding, and that is the results from the election commission. With those in hand, for the international community and for the Zimbabwean people, you can start to understand how the rest of this political process is going to unfold."

A White House spokesman traveling with President Bush in Europe had similar remarks, saying the United States is monitoring the situation and expects the will of the Zimbabwean people to be respected.

A senior official who spoke to reporters here said the United States has discussed the Zimbabwe electoral situation with Zimbabwe's neighbors, among others.

But he would not confirm press reports the Bush administration has sought South African help in persuading Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe to accept the results of the voting.

U.S. officials have confirmed diplomatic contacts with officials of both Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and the MDC but say the United States is not involved in any mediation effort.

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