Election officials in Zimbabwe said Monday the results of controversial parliamentary vote recounts in 23 constituencies, which started on Saturday, would be delayed beyond the three-day time frame earlier forecast.
The country’s elections body, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), is recounting votes in the constituencies, following the 29 March elections, after the ruling party complained it had been cheated.
The opposition, which won the parliamentary poll, fiercely opposed the move, calling it an attempt to rig the results in favour of the ruling ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has said it will boycott the recounts.
ZEC director Utloile Silaigwana said a lot of work was involved in the recounts that more time was needed than the three days earlier projected.
He did not say what additional work was involved.
“Recounting is going on well and all political parties are represented by their election agents. There are signs that the counting might take longer than the three days we had projected,” he said.
The recounts have attracted widespread suspicion the ruling party, which lost its majority in parliament for the first time since the country’s independence in 1980, might be trying to rig its way back to power in the chamber.
It only needs to reverse results in nine constituencies to regain its parliamentary majority.
But there was no sign ZEC was planning to declare the results for the presidential poll, also held 29 March, anytime soon.
These have been withheld at the behest of the ruling party, which claims its candidate, President Mugabe, was similarly cheated.
The MDC claims it won the presidential poll. Panapress.