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Zimbabwe's Catholic Church Urges International Observers to Monitor Run-off Poll


The Roman Catholic Church in Zimbabwe has called for the African Union and the United Nations to supervise a presidential runoff election in that troubled country.

In a statement issued during Sunday services, the church said Zimbabwe's electoral commission is neither neutral nor trustworthy. The commission delayed five weeks releasing the results of the March 29 vote.

Zimbabwe's state newspaper reported Sunday that top election officials plan to meet soon to discuss a date for a presidential runoff, despite uncertainty about whether the opposition candidate will take part.

The newspaper quotes the chairman of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Justice George Chiweshe, as saying the full board will meet as soon as possible to discuss a runoff election between President Robert Mugabe and opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai.

Leaders of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change warned Saturday that Mr. Tsvangirai has not decided if he will participate in a runoff election. Party leaders said they believe Mr. Tsvangirai won the original election outright with a majority of the vote.

If Mr. Tsvangirai does not take part in the runoff, Mr. Mugabe would retain his job, extending his 28-year rule over Zimbabwe.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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