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Zimbabwe Opposition Appeals to Electoral Court

Morgan Tsvangirai, left, the main opposition leader in Zimbabwe addresses a rally in Nyanyadzi
Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, has reversed its earlier decision not to challenge the results of last week's parliamentary election in court. The party is now taking cases of what it calls the most blatant irregularities to the Electoral Court.

The Movement for Democratic Change, or MDC, will challenge one or two results from some of Zimbabwe's 10 electoral provinces.

MDC Spokesman for Justice David Coltart told The Daily Mirror, the party has no faith in the judicial system, because the challenges it brought in 2000 were not resolved. But Mr. Coltart said it is a way of exposing fraud.

The party's spokesman, Paul Themba Nyathi, told VOA that, while the MDC has evidence of what it calls massive fraud in many constituencies, the cost of challenging all of them is prohibitive. The opposition party, therefore, decided to challenge results where it alleges what the spokesman described as "irrefutable irregularities."

The Movement for Democratic Change won 41 of the 120 seats up for grabs in the March 31election, while 78 went to the ruling ZANU-PF party. The MDC has since rejected the result alleging massive fraud.

In 2000, the MDC, which was then less than a year old, won 57 seats, and challenged more that 30 results. The High Court heard and nullified some of the results. But because the ruling party legislators whose seats were questioned appealed to the Supreme Court, they were still sitting in parliament when it was dissolved last week.

The government has since established an Electoral Court, which must finalize all election-related complaints within six months after a poll.

President Robert Mugabe has since dismissed the MDC claims as nonsense, and urged the party to accept the result and work with the ruling party in the national interest.

Justice George Chiweshe, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, has also said the elections were conducted in a transparent and credible manner.