The Electoral Commission says Mnangagwa won 52.6 percent of the vote, compared to 44 percent for rival Nelson Chamisa.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa won a second and final term in office in a result rejected by the opposition and questioned by observers.
Mnangagwa, who took power from leader Robert Mugabe after a 2017 military coup, was widely expected to secure re-election despite the country’s ongoing economic crisis, with analysts saying the race has skewed heavily in favor of the ZANU-PF, who took power. He has ruled the country since independence and the end of white minority rule in 1980.
Mnangagwa won 52.6 percent of the vote compared to 44 percent for his main rival, Nelson Chamisa, according to official results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission late Saturday night.
“Mnangagwa Emmerson Dambudzu of the Zimbabwe African Union/Patriotic Front has been declared duly elected President of the Republic of Zimbabwe,” Judge Chigumba, Chairperson of the Central Electoral Commission, told reporters.
The election was marred by delays that prompted opposition accusations of fraud and voter suppression, but a small group of ruling party supporters celebrated the result on Saturday.
But Promise Mkwananzi, spokesperson for Chamisa’s Citizens’ Alliance for Change, said the party had not signed off on the final result, which he called “false”.
“We cannot accept the results,” he told AFP, adding that the party would soon announce its next move.
The election is being watched widely across South Africa as a test of support for Mnangagwa’s ZANU-PF party, whose 43-year rule has been battered by disastrous management of the economy and accusations of authoritarianism.
Foreign election observers said on Friday that the vote failed to meet regional and international standards.
The head of the EU observer mission said on Friday that the vote took place in a “climate of fear”. The Southern African Regional Cluster (SADC) mission cited issues including voting delays, voter registry issues, bans on opposition marches and biased government media coverage.
“The election was full of irregularities and angered the people of Zimbabwe,” said political analyst Regois Ngwenya.
“The Central Criminal Court has good reasons to go to court and challenge the result.”
ZANU-PF denies having any unfair advantage or seeking to influence election results through fraud.
The Central Electoral Commission’s Chigumba said Mnangagwa, 80, received more than 2.3 million votes, while Chamisa, 45, received more than 1.9 million votes.
By receiving more than half of the votes cast, the president avoided a run-off. The voter turnout was 69 percent.
Nicole Birdsworth, a politics lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand, said she believed the announcement, made late Saturday, may have been a response to criticism from the Southern African Development Community and other election observers.
She said: “We all have a lot of questions about the speed with which the Central Election Commission announces the results of the presidential elections.”
ZANU-PF wins the parliamentary vote
Mnangagwa, nicknamed “the Crocodile” and long seen as “the enforcer of Mugabe’s rule”, outmaneuvered the ailing Mugabe to power amid mass protests.
In 2018, he narrowly beat Chamisa in an election that the opposition leader condemned as fraudulent, but the Constitutional Court upheld the result.
This week, voting was forced into an unprecedented second day due to delays in printing ballot papers in some key areas including the capital, Harare, an opposition stronghold.
Chamisa condemned the delay as “a clear case of voter suppression, a classic case of stone age… fraud”.
As a white-ruled British colony called Rhodesia, the country separated from London in 1965.
It finally gained its independence in 1980 after a long guerrilla war and its name was changed to Zimbabwe.
But under Mugabe, an independence fighter turned politician, the economy entered crisis, as hyperinflation wiped out savings and stifled investment. Mnangagwa was a key member of Mugabe’s government and held a series of ministerial portfolios, including minister of state security, minister of justice and vice president.
The opposition had hoped to ride a wave of discontent over the persistence of corruption, high inflation, unemployment and rampant poverty.
The ZANU-PF was also declared the winner in the parliamentary race, taking 136 out of 210 contestable seats under the first-past-the-post system, against 73 for the CPC. Not a single seat was allocated due to the death of one of the candidates.
An additional 60 seats are reserved for women appointed through the party-list proportional representation system.
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