Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ruling ZANU-PF party took a significant lead in Zimbabwe’s presidential election race Thursday, ahead of his main opponent Nelson Chamisa of the opposition MDC party, according to official results.
With nine out of ten provinces declared, Mnangagwa had 2,147,505 votes to Chamisa’s 1,929,704, according to tallies from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
The result from the last province of Mashonaland West, a ZANU-PF stronghold, was due to be released shortly.
Zimbabwe has been bracing itself for the release of results in the landmark presidential elections — the first since the ousting of Robert Mugabe — which have already sparked a deadly crackdown on protesters.
Six people were killed on Wednesday when troops fired live rounds against MDC demonstrators alleging the vote had been rigged.
Soldiers and police cleared central Harare ahead of the results announcement, shouting at pedestrians and traders to leave, as the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) continued to charge that ZANU-PF had stolen the election.
The government has accused the MDC of inciting Wednesday’s unrest and vowed to enforce a security clampdown.