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European Commission Chief Calls for Democracy in Zimbabwe


European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso is calling for a swift transition to democracy in Zimbabwe. Barosso says Zimbabweans have voted for change from President Robert Mugabe's rule. Tendai Maphosa has more in this report from London.

Jose Manuel Barosso is expressing concern about the lack of transparency in Zimbabwe's election process. He said Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe and what he described as his entourage should accept that the people of Zimbabwe want change.

Barosso spokesperson Amadeu Altafaj told VOA the delay in announcing the presidential election result is fueling speculation and people are drawing their own conclusions.

"The people of Zimbabwe have voted and it seems to most independent observers - because we do not have the results yet - that they have voted for change, they have voted for issues of human rights respect, freedom of expression but also the end of the chaotic situation of the economy the end of poverty in Zimbabwe, so their votes should be taken into account," he said.

Barroso is urging countries in the region to help the transition process, adding that the international community, including the European Union, is ready to help Zimbabweans tackle the extreme poverty in which they find themselves.

Alatafaj pointed out that while the European Commission has given humanitarian support to Zimbabwe it can only play a complimentary role in bringing about change in the country.

"The main effort has to come from Zimbabweans themselves, and in particular from the authorities," he added. "It is also important of course that countries in the region in southern Africa in particular and pan-African regional organizations also contribute."

Zimbabweans voted 11 days ago to choose a president, parliament members and local officials. Only the parliament results have been made public.

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) challenger Morgan Tsvangirai is claiming victory over long-time incumbent President Mugabe. The government appointed electoral commission says it is still collating the figures. But state media has suggested that none of the candidates won a majority of the vote and that a second-round runoff is necessary.

The MDC has appealed to the High Court to force the electoral commission to publish the presidential election result. The judge says he will announce his ruling Monday.

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