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Zimbabwe Election Not Possible, Agrees UK Govt.

Zimbabwe election not possible

The Government has agreed with the assessment of Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of Zimbabwe's opposition MDC party, that a "free and fair" election in the country is impossible.

Speaking to journalists last night, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said that the latest "state-sponsored violence" had made talk of a viable election "farcical". The African nation was now at a "critical moment" in its move to establish a democratic process, he said.

Mr Miliband said:

"[Robert Mugabe] has made, and his thugs have made, an election impossible and so now we face a critical crisis of legitimacy because it's clear that the only people with any shred of democratic legitimacy are the people who won the 29th of March first round, and that was the opposition."

Prime Minister Gordon Brown called for an end to the intimidation of opposition supporters and reiterated his call for United Nations involvement in holding a transparent election.

He said:

"I condemn those orchestrating the latest horrific escalation of violence. They must immediately end the violence, allow local and international monitors complete access and cooperate with the UN to allow a full investigation of the human rights abuses."

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, announced yesterday that he would not contest the 27 June election in the face of mounting violence.

The Foreign Secretary will give an update to Parliament on the situation in Zimbabwe at 15:00 BST today.

ENDS

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