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Mugabe Swearing-In Expected After 'Big Victory' in Run-Off

Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, 84, is expected to be sworn in for another term as president on Sunday, following what government officials are calling his big victory in Friday's run-off vote.

No final voting results have yet been released, although the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission says the vote count was complete Saturday less than 24 hours after polls closed. Officials' comments indicate totals will be announced soon.

The state commission waited more than a month before releasing results of the first round of Zimbabwe's presidential election on March 29. In that vote, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai beat President Mugabe, although the reported results said he fell short of a majority.

Tsvangirai and many Western governments dismissed this week's run-off as an illegitimate sham, due to the violent suppression of opposition supporters, many of whom were beaten or even killed. Tsvangirai dropped out of the race last Sunday and urged his backers to boycott the poll.

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

An inauguration on Sunday would allow Mr. Mugabe to attend an African Union summit in Egypt Monday as Zimbabwe's newly confirmed leader.

There are conflicting accounts of voter turnout for the run-off, with state media describing it as "massive" and foreign observers saying it was low. In some areas, witnesses said ruling party militants used threats to force people to vote.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change has claimed at least one small victory, saying it won a special election for a parliamentary seat in the city of Bulawayo. There has been no word on two other special elections held Friday.

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