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Zimbabwe High Court to Consider Election Petition Urgently

Zimbabwe's High Court says it will urgently consider a petition for the release of results from the country's March 29 presidential election.

Justice Tendai Uchena Tuesday said the application from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change is urgent and that the case should proceed. A hearing is expected Tuesday.

Zimbabwe's electoral commission has yet to release any results from the election, held 10 days ago.

The opposition MDC says its candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, defeated President Robert Mugabe, although independent monitors say Mr. Tsvangirai fell short of the majority needed to avoid a runoff.

Some political analysts say the ruling ZANU PF party is trying to delay the results, so Mr. Mugabe has time to consider his next political move.

Earlier this week, the ZANU PF demanded a full recount of the vote. MDC officials said asking for a recount is ridiculous when the original results are still not known.

Adding to the tension, police say they have arrested five electoral commission officials accused of tampering with presidential results and undercounting votes for Mr. Mugabe.

Also, Zimbabwe's Commercial Farms Union says militant supporters of ZANU PF have forced at least 30 white farmers off their land. Mr. Mugabe orchestrated huge seizures of land owned by whites in 2000 after he lost a referendum on constitutional amendments.

The seizures are widely blamed for triggering a fall in food production and the collapse of Zimbabwe's economy.

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

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.