Zimbabwe awaits results as election officials count ballots


ZIMBABWE, July 31: Zimbabweans are awaiting the first results from an election that they hope will lift the country out of economic and political stagnation after decades of rule by former leader Robert Mugabe.

Officials on Tuesday counted votes a day after millions of Zimbabweans peacefully cast their votes in a process closely watched by international monitors, who have yet to announce whether the election was free and fair.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission says it will release the final tally within five days.

The two main contenders are President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former deputy president, and Nelson Chamisa, a lawyer and pastor who leads a coalition of opposition groups.

More than 5.5 million people were registered to vote and turnout was about 70 percent.