Zimbabwe counts votes after first post-Mugabe election

HARARE,  (Reuters) – Counting began in Zimbabwe yesterday in the first election since the removal of former president Robert Mugabe, a watershed vote that could pull a pariah state back into the international fold and spark an economic revival.

The election is a two-horse race between 75-year-old President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a long-time Mugabe ally, and 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa, a lawyer and pastor who is vying to become Zimbabwe’s youngest head of state.

Mnangagwa is viewed as the frontrunner, though the latest opinion polls showed a tight race. There will be a runoff on Sept. 8 if no candidate wins more than half the votes.

Voting closed at 7 p.m. (1700 GMT). The official result has to be announced within five days but there will likely be an indication of the outcome today.

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