European Union(EU) observers are expected to give their report on Zimbabwe’s presidential election on Wednesday as the country waits impatiently for results of the first vote since Robert Mugabe was ousted after 37 years in power.
The candidates’ competing claims raise the prospect of fraud allegations and a possible run-off vote on September 8.
That would be required if no candidate wins at least 50% of the ballots cast by Zimbabwe’s 5.6 million voters in the first round.
With elections under Mugabe marred by fraud and often deadly violence, current President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised a free and fair vote and invited international observers.
On Wednesday the EU’s electoral monitoring team is due to deliver its much-anticipated report on the conduct of the campaign, the polls and counting processes.
Their findings will be an important verdict on Mnangagwa, 75, who has staked his reputation on delivering credible polls.
“There are shortcomings that we have to check. We don’t know yet whether it was a pattern,” the EU’s chief observer Elmar Brok told AFP during voting Monday.
Observers from the Southern African Development Community and the African Union will also deliver reports on the polls.
Whoever wins will face a mass unemployment crisis and an economy shattered by the Mugabe-era seizure of white-owned farms, the collapse of agriculture, hyperinflation and an exodus of investment.