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Zimbabwe Blasts Vote-Rigging Allegations - 2002-03-28

Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party has rejected charges of systematic fraud in this month's presidential election.

The party of President Robert Mugabe dismissed criticism by Western "imperialists" and the "puppets," calling it a meaningless litany of complaints. ZANU-PF also rejected a key opposition demand that the election be repeated.

An official election vote count showed Mr. Mugabe beating opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai by a comfortable margin.

On Tuesday, however, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change released a report detailing what the party calls massive vote fraud at the expense of its candidate Morgan Tsvangirai.

Western countries have condemned the election as illegitimate and some have already imposed new economic sanctions against Zimbabwe. The Commonwealth has barred Zimbabwe from its meetings for one year.

Most African governments have declared the election legitimate or expressed muted citicism that stopped short of condemning it.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.