Zimbabwe elections underway without Mugabe’s name on ballot

Emmerson Mnangagwa we

Harare, July 30 : Zimbabweans are voting on Monday in the country’s first election since independence in 1980 without long-time leader Robert Mugabe’s name on the ballot.

The main contenders in the presidential vote are incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa, of the ruling Zanu-PF party, and opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.

Both parliamentary and regional body polls are scheduled to take place simultaneously and polling stations opened at 7am (05:00 GMT) on Monday and will close at 7pm (17:00 GMT).A total of 10,985 polling stations have been set up across the country.There are 5,635,706 voters who have re-registered for the poll as the opposition still harbours doubts about its accuracy.

The country’s founding President Mugabe was ousted in a coup in 2017 after almost four decades in power.

Mnangagwa, 75, has a narrow advantage over his 40-year-old rival,who leads the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

 Mugabe said he would not vote for his successor.

The country is expecting a high turnout of first-time voters, where the youth vote is expected to be the key. Almost half of those registered are under the age of 35.

Hundreds of international observers have been deployed to ensure free and fair polls, but the opposition has  alleged irregularities in the voter roll.

It has been 16 years since EU and US observers were allowed to monitor elections that will take at 10,985 polling stations across the nation.

The election follows decades of repressive rule which has brought severe economic challenges to Zimbabwe including issues of investment, education, healthcare and jobs.

 

 

 

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