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    Zimbabwe Opposition Withdraws Election Challenge

    Zimbabwe's opposition has withdrawn its court challenge to the results of last month's elections, saying it does not expect to get fair treatment by the court.

    Douglas Mwonzora, a spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change , told VOA of the decision Friday, a day before the case was to be heard by Zimbabwe's Constitutional Court.

    The MDC accuses the Zimbabwe Election Commission of rigging the elections in favor of President Robert Mugabe, mainly by manipulating the voter registration lists.

    Spokesman Mwonzora cited several reasons for the decision, including a ruling that forbids oral testimony during any hearings - preventing the party from calling witnesses. He also said the MDC had not yet received election materials it had requested from the election commission and noted that President Mugabe recently stated that the election results will not be overturned.



    "What we didn't want is to take the people of Zimbabwe for a ride, to let the people of Zimbabwe think that there is a trial going on when it is a big play. We cannot do that to our people."



    In a two-page affidavit served at Zimbabwe's Constitutional Court, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said it was with "deep regret and sadness" that he is withdrawing the case.

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



    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 that 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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