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Mugabe Rival Withdraws Election Challenge

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Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has withdrawn his court challenge to the result of last month's elections, which gave victory to President Robert Mugabe and his party.

Douglas Mwonzora, a spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), told VOA of the decision Friday, a day before a hearing scheduled before
Zimbabwe's Constitutional Court.

The MDC accuses the commission of rigging the elections for Mr. Mugabe, mainly by manipulating the voters roll. Spokesman Mwonzora said the party has not yet received election materials it had requested from the Zimbabwe Election Commission and, he added, the MDC was frustrated by the court's decision to forbid oral testimony during any hearings - preventing the party from calling witnesses.

The South African Development Community is expected to discuss the election during a summit in Malawi that begins Saturday.



Official results from the July 31 polls showed Mr. Mugabe winning a commanding 61 percent of the presidential vote, while his ZANU-PF party took about two-thirds of the seats in parliament.

ZANU-PF and MDC previously were the main parties in a power-sharing government formed under SADC pressure after the disputed and violent 2008 elections.

Mr. Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since the country won independence in 1980.

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