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US to Seek UN Resolution Regarding Zimbabwe Election Intimidation

The United States plans to introduce a U.N. resolution to send a strong message to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, accusing him of leading a campaign of intimidation ahead of Friday's presidential runoff election.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Saturday said a resolution could be introduced as early as Monday.

The U.N. Security Council said conditions for a free and fair vote did not exist, but stopped short of calling the poll illegitimate as some members wanted.

Mr. Mugabe is assured victory since he was the lone candidate following the withdrawal of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai earlier this week. Mr. Tsvangirai had said violence against his supporters made the election impossible.

Zimbabwe's state-run Herald newspaper said record high voter turnout in Friday's election was a "slap in the face" to critics who said the balloting was a charade to keep Mr. Mugabe in power.

However, witnesses reported low voter turnout, attributed to the opposition boycott.

The European Union and the United States have condemned the runoff election in Zimbabwe, calling it a sham devoid of legitimacy.

The African Union's top official, Jean Ping, said he is convinced "the Zimbabwe problem" can be solved in a credible way. African Union foreign ministers meeting in Egypt Friday considered backing a power-sharing proposal for Zimbabwe. However, ministers attending the meeting say the participants were sharply divided.

Mr. Tsvangirai defeated Mr. Mugabe in the first round of elections March 29. However, official results showed him falling just short of the majority needed to avoid a runoff.

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

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