Zimbabwe presidential vote could enter a runoff

Blanche Robertson
July 21, 2018

Zimbabwe's July 30 presidential election will provide no clear victor, with 40 percent of voters choosing President Emmerson Mnangagwa and 37 percent his opponent, Nelson Chamisa, according to an Afrobarometer poll released on Friday.

Mnangagwa's advantage narrowed to three percentage points from 11 points in early May.

The election will be the first since former leader Robert Mugabe was removed in a de facto coup in November and investors are watching closely in the hope it will spark an economic revival.

Previous elections in Zimbabwe were marred by fraud, intimidation and violence during Mugabe's 37-year rule, and the accuracy of polling in the country is uncertain. Among citizens who were both registered to vote and likely to vote, 40% said they would vote for the ZANU-PF and 37% said they would vote for the MDC (combined party and Alliance).

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"In our opinion, this prospect lies within the realm of reasonable possibility". But more people, especially in urban areas, thought that the opposition's presidential candidate would perform better at "creating jobs for the people".

More than four in 10 people expressed concern that incorrect election results would be announced, that the armed forces would not respect the result or that post-election violence would occur.

It is reported that Mutsvangwa made these remarks after he had been referenced on micro-blogging site Twitter, where an apparently fake account using his name alleged falsely and outrageously said that war veterans would not accept an opposition victory in the much-anticipated polls. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote there will be a runoff on September 8.

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