Zimbabwe soldiers clash with opposition supporters as ruling party wins majority

DONE Polling stations officially closed

The commission said it would announce the results of Zimbabwe's presidential race, pitting President Emmerson Mnangagwa against opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, only after all the votes have come in from across the country.

There are 58 seats are yet to be announced.

Biti's statement came as Zec chairperson Priscilla Chigumba delayed the initial announcement of the incoming results by almost two hours, and later announced results from seven House of Assembly constituencies.

Hundreds of Zimbabwe opposition MDC supporters gathered outside a Harare hotel where election results were being announced but police blocked the entrance to the building.

MDC supporters are blaming the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for delaying the announcement of the presidential results and declaring their leader‚ Nelson Chamisa‚ as the victor.

She urged Zimbabweans to disregard unofficial results not announced by ZEC.

MDC Alliance's Tendai Biti said there was a clear attempt by Zanu-PF to interfere "with the people's will".

African observer groups said the vote was peaceful, orderly and largely in line with the law but they raised concerns about bias of state media and the commission.

"The longer it lasts.the more a lack of credibility will arise in Zimbabwe", said Elmar Brok, a European Union lawmaker who heads the bloc's observer mission.

Those hopes could be threatened if MDC supporters feel that the election was marred by questions and abuses as frequently happened under Mugabe. They believe the election has been stolen, and are demanding the MDC be announced as victor.

With voters expected to pick a presidential candidate based on their party affiliation the stage is set for presidential incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former Mugabe confidant, to retain power.

The crowds had been there since the morning but when news came that Zanu-PF had won the majority of seats in parliament and that the presidential results were not ready, the mood turned.

"Winning resoundingly...we now have results from the majority of the over 10 000 polling stations".

That would be required if no candidate wins at least 50 percent of the ballots cast by Zimbabwe's 5.6 million voters in the first round.

European Union (EU) and United States election monitors have been allowed into the country for the first time in 16 years to assess whether the elections are free and fair. "We won the popular vote (and) will defend it", Chamisa said.

If no candidate wins more than half the votes in the presidential election, there will be a runoff in five weeks.

Chamisa declared an early victory on Tuesday long before the counting had been completed - including in the rural regions that tend to overwhelmingly support the ruling party.

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