Europe concerned at "unexplained" election delay in Zimbabwe
Delay in announcing the election results undermines credibility of the democratic process, says European countries.17 April 2008
BRUSSELS - Nearly 40 European countries on Wednesday warned Zimbabwe that the "prolonged and unexplained delay" in its presidential election count was undermining the government's democratic credentials.
"(The European Union) reiterates its concern at the prolonged and unexplained delay in releasing the presidential results, which is undermining the credibility of the process," the Slovenian presidency of the EU said in a statement issued on behalf of all 27 member states and endorsed by a further 10 non-EU countries.
The statement said Europe was also deeply concerned about "the current deteriorating situation in the field of human rights and the increasing reports of violent incidents."
"The European Union reiterates the importance of respect for democratic principles and for the elections to be a credible reflection of the free and democratic will of the Zimbabwean people," it said.
On Tuesday, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) called on the people of Zimbabwe to refrain from going to work in protest at the electoral commission's failure to release results of the 29 March vote, which the MDC claims has ousted longtime President Robert Mugabe.
But the stay-at-home campaign largely failed amid fear of reprisal from Mugabe loyalists.
In its statement, the EU welcomed the holding Saturday of an extraordinary South African Development Community summit and backed its call for "the expeditious release of the presidential election results".
[dpa / Expatica]