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World IN BRIEF : ZIMBABWE : Voter Turnout Light in Disputed Election

March 17, 1996|From Times Wire Reports

After stopping two challengers from pulling out of an election they had no chance of winning, President Robert Mugabe cast his ballot to extend his 16-year rule in Zimbabwe. The challengers, Bishop Abel Muzorewa and Ndabaningi Sithole, had argued that government manipulation of the election made their candidacies impossible. Election leaders, rather than declare Mugabe the winner by default, refused to let the two quit. On the first day of voting, turnout was light amid opposition calls to boycott the election, in which Mugabe seeks at least the semblance of a voter mandate to counter complaints that he has turned a once-promising democracy into a dictatorship.

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