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Zimbabwe’s Tsvangirai Begins Court Challenge Against Vote Result

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai began a court challenge against the results of last month’s presidential election, in which Robert Mugabe extended his 33-year rule, and called for a new vote within 60 days.

Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change “has filed its election petition,” Douglas Mwonzora, spokesman for the MDC, told reporters today outside the Constitutional Court in the capital, Harare. “The prayer that we seek is this be declared null and void.”

The July 31 election, in which Mugabe, 89, won 61 percent to Tsvangirai’s 34 percent and his party gained a two-thirds majority in parliament, was the third time Tsvangirai lost to the only leader Zimbabwe has known since independence in 1980. His allegations of vote rigging, echoed by the U.S., the U.K. and local monitors, found little support among most African nations, which endorsed the vote as credible.

Shares on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange declined for a fifth straight day today, with the benchmark Industrial Index shedding 1.4 percent. The gauge has dropped 16 percent since election day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“This is a very, very important case of national and international importance,” Mwonzora said. The MDC’s challenge against the results includes charges that 870,000 names were duplicated on the voters’ roll.

Mugabe’s ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front used security forces to control the voting process, thousands of people were turned away from polling stations and voters were bussed in to cast ballots outside their home areas, Tsvangirai, 61, told reporters in Harare on Aug. 3.

The government plans to seize control of foreign-owned mines without paying for them, while compensating owners for a majority stake in banks operating in Zimbabwe, Saviour Kasukuwere, minister of youth development, indigenization and empowerment, said Aug. 6. Anglo American Platinum Ltd., Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd., Barclays Plc and Standard Chartered Plc are among companies that operate in the country.

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