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Electoral commission: 300,000 voters were denied the vote in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s electoral commission has acknowledged that 300,000 people were denied their chance to vote in the recent presidential election. The revelation may lead to a legal challenge of the result.

President Robert Mugabe was declared the winner of the Zimbabwean presidential election on July 31, with 61 percent of the vote.

The country’s electoral commission announced on Thursday, however, that 300,000 voters were turned away during the vote and another 207,000 were "assisted voters," who needed help from polling officials to cast their votes.

The panel acknowledged mistakes were made but that they were not enough to change the resulting landslide victory for Mugabe.

Legal challenge

Mugabe’s defeated challenger, outgoing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, had walked away with 33.9 percent of the vote. The party had alleged widespread vote-rigging in the election, claiming that more than a million people had been denied the right to vote.

Following Thursday’s announcement, Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change party said it planned to challenge the election results before the Constitutional Court.

"It is clear that the election was rigged by the electoral commission for Mugabe," party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said.

Criticism of the election handling has also come from non-governmental groups and western governments, but African Union observers have supported the election results.

tm/ccp (AP, dpa, AFP)