WASHINGTON DC —
Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is dismissing the results of Wednesday's presidential election, saying alleged irregularities have made the vote a "farce."
Mr. Tsvangirai said the election is "null and void" owing to alleged violations in the voting process. But President Mugabe has denied vote-rigging.
"It is a sham election that does not reflect the will of the people," Tsvangirai told reporters Thursday.
The prime minister said the election was heavily manipulated and did not meet regional or African election standards.
"The shoddy manner in which it has been conducted and the consequent illegitimacy of the result will plunge this country into a serious crisis," Tsvangirai said.
The head of African Union observer mission, Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president of Nigeria, said late on Wednesday that reports of irregularities would be investigated "but have not yet been substantiated"
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network, which had thousands of vote monitors throughout the country, also raised concerns about the election.
Deputy chairperson Irene Petras said Thursday the process was compromised, with a large number of people being blocked from casting ballots.
"Generally the environment was relatively calm and peaceful," she said."Based on the empirical reports from our observers, regardless of the outcome, the credibility of the 2013 harmonized elections is seriously compromised by a systematic effort to disenfranchise urban voters, up to a million voters."
Mugabe allies said Thursday that the longtime president and his party won easy victories in the general elections.
Zimbabwe's Electoral Commission has yet to release any results, saying they are still counting the ballots. The commission defended the vote, calling it "free and fair."
“I believe that the election is free and fair. Maybe the reports that will come out will vindicate my view of the election as free and fair,” ZEC chairwoman Rita Makarau told journalists.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai were the main contestants in Wednesday's election, which ended a power sharing government the two formed in 2009 after a disputed election.
Final results are expected by Monday. The election posed one of the biggest challenges to Mugabe's 33-year grip on power.