ZIMBAWE -There have been long lines at polling stations in Zimbabwe where voters are casting ballots in presidential and parliamentary elections.
President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai are the leading contenders in the five-candidate presidential race. It is Tsvangirai’s third attempt to unseat Mugabe, who led the country to independence in 1980.
Overall, polling appeared to be peaceful. However, some voters expressed frustration with long lines and reported problems finding their names at polling stations.
Tsvangirai has accused Mugabe’s party of trying to steal the election, but Mugabe has denied taking part in any vote rigging.
Voting could be extended beyond the 7 p.m., local time, deadline. The election commission said any voter who is in the queue by 7 p.m. would be allowed to vote.
The commission has until next Monday to release the results.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai have led Zimbabwe through a fragile power-sharing government they set up in the wake of the last polls in 2008. That election ended with Tsvangirai disputing the results and unrest that left 200 of his supporters dead.
Tsvangirai spoke to reporters while casting his ballot in Harare.
“[It’s] an emotional moment sometimes when you see all these people,” he said. “After all the conflicts, the stalemates, the suspicion, the hostility, I think there is a sense of calmness that finally Zimbabwe will be able to move on again.”
While casting his vote, also in Harare, Mugabe said, “We have managed together [Mugabe and Tsvangirai] and we hope the people will decide now which way they want us to go.”