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Foreign Secretary commends the people of Zimbabwe on peaceful elections but sets out grave concerns over how those elections were conducted
Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said:
People around the world are watching events in Zimbabwe, following the announcement by the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission that President Mugabe has won the presidential elections, as well as the indications of possible legal challenges.
I commend the people of Zimbabwe on holding peaceful elections. However, we have grave concerns over the conduct of the election. The preliminary statements of the African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) observation missions, and those of the domestic observer groups, have outlined many of these significant concerns and I hope that their final assessments of the elections will take into account the full impact of these irregularities on the outcome.
We are deeply concerned that a number of important reforms contained in the Global Political Agreement and endorsed by SADC were not completed before the poll, despite being clearly highlighted by SADC at their Maputo summit on 15 June as being necessary for peaceful, credible, free and fair elections. We are also concerned with irregularities reported on the day.
The AU preliminary report underlined in particular the strategic importance of the voters roll, and that by law it should have been made available to all political parties, yet observers saw no evidence that this was the case. This was a critical flaw. We also have concerns over reports of large numbers of voters who were turned away, particularly in urban areas, the very high numbers of extra ballot papers that were printed and additional polling stations apparently added on Election Day itself.
The irregularities in the lead up to the elections and on Election Day itself, reported by the observer missions and in contravention of SADC’s guidelines, call into serious question the credibility of the election. We note that some political parties have rejected the result on the basis of these irregularities.
We will need to examine what has happened and consider further reports from regional and local observer missions. In the meantime, it is important that all allegations of electoral violations are thoroughly investigated. We will continue to support Zimbabwe and its people in their aspirations for a democratic, peaceful and prosperous future.
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