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The Collective
Thursday, April 3, 2008
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the LAT: With a runoff likely in Zimbabwe, violence is feared

The MDC triumph was slightly dampened by party officials’ embarrassing math mistake. They declared Tsvangirai the winner of the presidential race with 50.3% of the vote, enough to avoid a runoff. But the party’s own figures showed he fell just short of the 50%-plus-one threshold for outright victory.

Tsvangirai, a former union official who has faced treason charges and beatings in a nine-year battle to unseat Mugabe, seems almost certain to win a second-round election.

One of Tsvangirai’s main challenges is to win the support of military and security commanders tied to Mugabe’s camp, many of whom are suspicious of the longtime opposition leader and fear that he will take away benefits they have reaped during nearly three decades of Mugabe’s rule.

Let the strategery begin:

Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF party and Tsvangirai’s MDC are now vying for the support of the third candidate, ruling party defector and former Finance Minister Simba Makoni. Sources close to Makoni said he was unlikely to work with Mugabe.

Although Makoni won a modest 7% of the votes, according to the MDC’s count, he could be a key figure in ensuring a smooth transition. Makoni and leaders in his group were expected to meet today to decide their position on the expected runoff.

One would presume that Makoni would be inclined to support Tsvangirai, as if Makoni was disposed to want Mugabe to stay in office, one would think that he wouldn’t have taken the risks associated with running in the first place.

Of course, the questions of whether the run-off will be free and fair and whether the military would let Tsvangirai take power even if he wins, remain open.

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    Comment by James Joyner — Thursday, April 3, 2008 @ 2:24 pm

  2. [...] has more on the mechanics of the voting in the benighted, once wealthy [...]

    Pingback by Pros and Cons » North Korean Trained Troops, A Ruling Politburo, A Racist Government of National Liberation … — Friday, April 4, 2008 @ 9:35 pm

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