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Britain Refuses to Recognize Mugabe Win in Zimbabwe - 2002-03-14

Britain says it does not recognize the disputed election victory of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, or the legitimacy of the vote.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said in London Thursday that Zimbabwean voters were plainly denied their fundamental right to choose their leader. Britain is Zimbabwe's former colonial power.

The United States and other Western countries are also saying the election was neither free nor fair. A Commonwealth observer group has issued a negative report, which could lead to Zimbabwe's ejection from the organization.

Also Thursday, Zimbabwean police broke up a meeting of the executive board of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the country's main labor group. Police called the meeting an illegal political gathering, even though the federation is a legal group.

A recent law prohibits a general strike, but sources close to the union leadership tell VOA the federation may call an unofficial work stoppage, asking members informally to stop showing up for work.

Official results show President Mugabe defeating former labor leader Morgan Tsvangirai, 55 to 40 percent. Mr. Tsvangirai has rejected the count, saying it is the result of massive fraud.