Thu, Aug 01, 2013 - Page 6 News List

Large turnout at Zimbabwe vote

THIRD SHOWDOWN:President Robert Mugabe has promised to step down if he loses, but rival Morgan Tsvangirai is skeptical amid charges of vote-rigging and intimidation

Reuters, HARARE

Thabani Nyoni, a spokesman for the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, the leading domestic monitoring agency, said the early vote appeared to be running without too many problems.

“There are some concerns around long queues, but generally, it’s smooth,” he said.

The monitors’ verdict is crucial to the future of Zimbabwe’s economy, which is still struggling with the aftermath of a decade-long slump and hyperinflation that ended in 2009 when the worthless Zimbabwe dollar was scrapped.

If the poll receives broad approval, there is a chance Western sanctions may be eased, allowing Harare to normalize relations with the IMF and World Bank, and access the huge amounts of investment needed to rebuild its dilapidated economy.

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