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Daily Archives: May 5, 2008

Zimbabwe vote officials to meet on presidential run-off date: media

Top officials of Zimbabwe's electoral commission will meet "as soon as possible" to decide the date of a second round of presidential elections, a state weekly reported yesterday.
"I cannot state exactly when the run-off will be held but I can confirm that the poll will be held on a date to be announced by the commission," Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairman George Chiweshe was quoted as saying in The Sunday Mail.
Amid mounting tension, the opposition has insisted its leader Morgan Tsvangirai won an outright election victory against President Robert Mugabe in the March 29 poll and sees a run-off as "unnecessary".
"The commission is going to meet as soon as possible," Chiweshe said.
Official results announced by the ZEC on Friday showed that none of the four candidates garnered the required majority to be declared a winner.
The opposition Movement for a Democratic Change has also complained that the ZEC announced the official results before the completion of a verification process.
But Chiweshe told The Sunday Mail: "MDC-Tsvangirai did not have any figures at all. They were not forthcoming when the commission asked for the statistics as had been agreed."
The ruling Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) accepted the results but said the polls were fraught with electoral fraud, including vote-buying and bribery of election officials to count votes in favour of the opposition.
Since the announcement of parliamentary results, the country has been rocked by post-election violence mainly targetting the opposition, which says at least 20 of its members have been killed in the aftermath of the poll.
The elections saw the ZANU-PF lose its majority in parliament for the first time in 28 years.

‘Time to blow whistle’ on China: Clinton

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton warned Saturday it was time to "blow the whistle" on China, accusing it of unfair trade practices.
She stood close to a parade of closed shops and pawnbrokers in North Carolina as she vowed to turn the US economy around, despite fears of recession, and promised action to reverse a tide of industrial jobs moving abroad.
"We do have to get tough on China, it is long past time for us to blow the whistle," the New York senator said, in the latest of a string of campaign assaults on Beijing.
"This country manipulates its currency to our disadvantage, they engage in broad-based intellectual property theft, industrial espionage, they do not follow the rules they agreed to follow when they joined the WTO," she said.
"What do we get in return from them? Well, we get tainted pet food, we get lead-laced toys, we get polluted pharmaceuticals."
"If you want to be our partner, you've got to play by the same rules," Clinton said, three days before North Carolina's crucial primary, one of the key end-game votes in the Democratic nominating contest.
The American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition says North Carolina, in the eastern United States, has lost 211,000 manufacturing jobs since 2001.
The area around Gastonia, a traditional hub of heavy industry, lost over 25,000 manufacturing jobs during the same time.
Clinton's comments on China represent a break with the legacy of her husband, former president Bill Clinton, who was instrumental in offering Beijing permanent normal trading relations with the United States, which speeded the Asian giant's entry into the World Trade Organization.
"China bashing" has been a staple of past US campaigns but the candidate that wins the presidency often tempers the rhetoric as geopolitical concerns take on more importance once the White House is secured.
Clinton has also urged Bush to boycott the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics in protest over China's policies on Tibet and Darfur.