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Poll 'null and void' - Mugabe rival

The main challenger to Zimbabwe's long-time president, Robert Mugabe, says the election there is "null and void" due to alleged violations in the voting process.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said on Thursday that the poll a day earlier was heavily manipulated and did not meet regional or African election standards.

A poll monitoring group that is not affiliated with the state says the poll was compromised by a campaign to stop voters from casting ballots.

Solomon Zwana, head of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network said they had found a "wide range of problems" and that the poll was compromised by a campaign to stop voters from casting ballots.

The monitoring group says as many as one million out of more than six million eligible voters were not on voters' lists.

Mr Mugabe has denied allegations of vote-rigging as a smear campaign by opponents.

Earlier Mr Mugabe's party said it had withdrawn an unauthorised message on its Twitter feed claiming a resounding victory in the presidential and parliamentary elections.

Mugabe's ZANU-PF party posted a disclaimer saying it awaited the release of results by the state election commission, the only body allowed under the law to announce the outcome of massive voting yesterday.

But witnesses said figures displayed outside polling stations in the Mbare township of Harare, a stronghold of Mr Tsvangirai since polls in 2002, showed Mr Mugabe winning there.

Mr Tsvangirai's party is claiming widespread electoral fraud. Witnesses said it won just four of 26 parliament seats in the eastern Manicaland province it had dominated. Extra police, some in riot gear have been deployed in the capital Harare.

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