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Zimbabwe Ruling Party Retains Parliamentary Seat - 2004-10-09

Zimbabwean officials say the ruling ZANU-PF party has retained a parliamentary seat by default after the main opposition party failed to put up a by-election candidate.

Officials say ruling party candidate Walter Mzembi won the seat left vacant by the death of prominent ZANU-PF figure Eddison Zvobgo in August.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change did not put up a candidate for the southern Masvingo seat by Friday's deadline.

The opposition party has suspended participation in all elections until Zimbabwe introduces sweeping electoral reforms that meet the regional election standards of the Southern African Development Community. Those standards call for an independent election commission to supervise polling and election preparations.

But the government says it has embraced the SADC guidelines.

General elections are due next March.