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EU Urges Zimbabwe to Issue Vote Result


The European Union has added its voice to those calling for the release, without delay, of the full results of Saturday's elections in Zimbabwe. The EU also protested the arrest of two journalists who were covering the elections there. Tendai Maphosa has more in this report for VOA from London.

The EU said Thursday that Zimbabwe's authorities should release the results of Saturday's presidential election in the country. EU spokesman John Clancy tells VOA that six days after the elections, the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission has had enough time to add up the numbers.

"Our main concern at this stage is simply awaiting release of the official results from the presidential election without any further delay," he said.

Clancy also called for the release of two journalists arrested Thursday. Police in the capital Harare arrested New York Times correspondent Barry Bearak and an unnamed British journalist at a guesthouse in the capital.

A Zimbabwe police spokesman told AFP the two reporters were charged with covering the elections without accreditation as required under Zimbabwean law.

The EU's Clancy told VOA the two reporters should not have been arrested.

"Our concern is an overarching concern whenever it comes to journalists that they should not be arrested," he said. "It's as simple as that. Journalists should not be arrested if they are conducting their work in the appropriate manner."

A senior U.S. official has also called for the journalists' release. Speaking to reporters on Friday, Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council, said journalists and non-governmental organizations in Zimbabwe should be allowed to do their work.

The U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe has warned Americans not to use cameras in urban areas.

Zimbabwe held presidential, parliamentary and local elections on Saturday but only results for the lower house have been published. After 28 years in power, the ruling ZANU-PF party lost control of the house to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The MDC claims that its tallies, based on totals posted outside polling stations, show that Morgan Tsvangirai, its presidential candidate, won the race against President Robert Mugabe who has been in power since independence in 1980.

Zimbabwe's official media has reported that no candidate won a clear majority and has hinted a second round run-off will be necessary to break the stalemate.

Zimbabwe's election law requires a presidential candidate to win 51 percent of the vote to avoid a run-off.

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