MDC predicts big turnout

OTTAWA - MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday predicted "a huge turnout" in a presidential election run-off despite what critics say is a campaign of violence and intimidation by the Zimbabwean government.

OTTAWA - MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday predicted "a huge turnout" in a presidential election run-off despite what critics say is a campaign of violence and intimidation by the Zimbabwean government.

Tsvangirai will face off against veteran President Robert Mugabe on June 27.

Official results showed Tsvangirai won a first round in March, but without enough votes to secure an outright victory.

Tsvangirai, who is in Canada, said: "On the ground people are exuberant, they are triumphant, they are defiant. They want to finish him off come the 27th. Frankly, we're going to have a huge turnout."

The West and human rights groups accuse Mugabe of using his supporters to intimidate his opponents. Mugabe blames his opponents for the violence.

Tsvangirai has been repeatedly detained during the campaign and one of his top lieutenants faces a treason charge.

He said all MDC rallies had been banned.

"The whole country is under siege," he said. "In certain areas there is almost total war. We are really dealing with a man who does not want to give up power."

Some media reports have quoted unnamed senior Mugabe officials as saying they do not want the president to leave because they fear they could be put on trial.

Tsvangirai said that if he won, he would deal with the economic crisis, not prosecute top officials.

"Our focus is to rehabilitate the country, respond to the peoples' problems and move forward." - Reuters

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