Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa was re-elected on Friday with a little more than 50 per cent of the ballots as the ruling party maintained control of the government in the first vote since the fall of long-time leader Robert Mugabe.
Mr. Mnangagwa received 50.8 per cent of the vote while main opposition challenger Nelson Chamisa received 44.3 per cent. The opposition is almost certain to challenge the results in the courts or in the streets.
While election day was peaceful in a break from the past, deadly violence on Wednesday against people protesting alleged vote-rigging reminded many Zimbabweans of the decades of military-backed repression under Mr. Mugabe.
Zimbabwe’s president says he is “humbled” by his win.
“Though we may have been divided at the polls, we are united in our dreams,” Mr. Mnangagwa said on Twitter.
“This is a new beginning. Let us join hands, in peace, unity & love, & together build a new Zimbabwe for all!” Mr. Mnangagwa tweeted, after a week that began with peaceful voting Monday but spiralled into deadly violence in the capital Wednesday as the military fired on protesters.
Western election observers who were banned in previous votes have expressed concern at the military’s “excessive” force in the capital, Harare. Their assessments of the election are crucial to the lifting of international sanctions on a country whose economy collapsed years ago.