Germany calls Zimbabwean Election a ′Farce′ | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 28.06.2008
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Germany calls Zimbabwean Election a 'Farce'

The final round of Zimbabwe's presidential election with only one candidate was "a farce," German Foreign Minister Steinmeier said Saturday, June 28. The US says it will introduce a UN resolution next week.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe cast his vote.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe casting his vote -- he was the only one on the ballot.

"A run-off election without an opponent is a farce and incapable of providing legitimacy," Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in Berlin, a day after voters in the southern African country went to the polls.

Steinmeier said the other foreign ministers in the Group of Eight (G8) took a similar view.

"The extent of the violence and intimidation surrounding the election yesterday reveals the depths that Robert Mugabe has led his country into," he said.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier im Bundestag

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Zimbabwe urgently needed a new political and economic start, Steinmeier said, expressing confidence that this would be the message from the African Union summit that starts in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt on Monday.

Steinmeier welcomed the decision by the UN Security Council to discuss Zimbabwe in the weeks ahead and said the EU would consider what additional steps it could take.

South Africa, Zimbabwe's most powerful neighbor, late Friday blocked an attempt in the Security Council to have the election declared illegitimate.

EU calls for crisis resolution

Also on Saturday, the EU Commission called for a "negotiated political resolution" to Zimbabwe's electoral crisis based on the first-round vote result when opposition head Morgan Tsvangirai came out on top.

The European Commission "condemns in the strongest terms the organization of a run-off in Zimbabwe despite repeated appeals by African and international authorities for a postponement," EU Commissioner for Development Louis Michel said in a statement.

Mugabe Anhänger bei Wahlkampfauftritt in Chitungwiza

The Zimbabwean elections have been marked by violence and intimidation

Counting was underway in Zimbabwe on Saturday, although President Robert Mugabe is certain of victory after a one-man election which was marked by intimidation of voters and branded a sham by the opposition and the West in general.

Michel said Europe expected strong leadership from both the African Union and the Southern African Development Community "to secure a negotiated political resolution of the crisis and push for a transitional framework for Zimbabwe, to prevent the country from plunging further into the abyss."

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) candidate Tsvangirai was the winner of the first round vote on March 29, with 47.9 percent of votes to Mugabe's 43.2 percent, but refused to take part in Friday's run-off after a wave of deadly attacks on his supporters.

Skepticism over sanction talk

Der UN Sicherheitsrat votiert einstimmig für eine Resolution welche die Sanktionen gegen den Iran verschärft

The US has said it will work with the UN on a resolution regarding Zimbabwe

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Saturday that the United States is working with UN member countries on a resolution sending "a strong message of deterrence" to Zimbabwe's government for its crackdown on its citizens that could involved more sanctions.

Many Western leaders have urged the African Union to take action at a summit in Egypt on Monday that was expected to focus on the crisis.

But African ministers expressed doubts about more sanctions, saying they will not work and that the world should focus instead on encouraging talks towards a power-sharing deal, several African officials said on Saturday.

"History has shown us that they (sanctions) don't work because the leadership just dig in and dig in and feel persecuted," Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula told reporters at a meeting of African foreign ministers ahead of the summit.

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