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Tsvangirai considers pulling out of election


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Tsvangirai 'mulls quitting poll'



Zimbabwe's opposition MDC party is considering withdrawing from the 27 June presidential run-off vote, a party source has told the BBC.


MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is said to be under pressure to pull out in view of reports of escalating violence against his supporters.


At a summit in Brussels, the EU is threatening to impose fresh sanctions against Zimbabwe's authorities.


President Robert Mugabe has blamed the opposition for the violence.


Senior opposition MDC leaders are meeting in Harare to discuss whether or not to take part in the run-off vote.


It is not clear if they will make a decision at the meeting.


"There is a huge avalanche of calls and pressure from supporters across the country, especially in the rural areas, not to accept to be participants in this charade," opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman Nelson Chamisa told Reuters news agency.


If they do pull out, the MDC will be handing a victory to President Robert Mugabe, says the BBC's Caroline Hawley in Johannesburg, South Africa.


However, Mr Tsvangirai's potential withdrawal from the election can be seen as a move to put pressure on the international community to do something about the poll-related violence in Zimbabwe, says our correspondent.


Economic freefall


Meanwhile in Brussels, the EU has drafted a summit statement saying they are ready "to take additional measures against those responsible for violence".


The EU document does not state what the additional measures might be.


There is a huge avalanche of calls and pressure from supporters across the country, especially in the rural areas, not to accept to be participants in this charade


MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa



'Raped for opposing Mugabe'


The EU already has an arms embargo against Zimbabwe and has placed travel bans and frozen the assets of President Mugabe and other senior government and ruling Zanu-PF party officials.


Mr Mugabe blames the sanctions for causing Zimbabwe's economic freefall.


The EU statement urged the African Union and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to deploy "a significant number of election monitors as soon as possible and to ensure their continued presence until the electoral process is completed".


Treason charge


Morgan Tsvangirai gained the most votes in the election's first round, but not enough to win outright.


The opposition has suffered five violent deaths in recent days, among them the wife of Harare's mayor-elect.


The MDC says at least 70 of its supporters have now been killed and 25,000 forced from their homes in a state-sponsored campaign of violence.



Robert Mugabe Zanu-PF blames the opposition for the violence


One of its top leaders, Tendai Biti, has also been charged with treason and subversion.


A Harare court has upheld the charges, saying there is reasonable suspicion that Mr Biti committed an offence, and remanded the case to 7 July.


The subversion charge carries a possible death sentence.


MDC rallies have also been disrupted and Mr Tsvangirai briefly detained by police on several occasions.


There has been growing international condemnation, including from some of Zimbabwe's neighbours, of the pre-election climate in the country.


Three countries from SADC monitoring the polls - Tanzania, Angola and Swaziland - said the election would not be free and fair given the current circumstances.


"The report we received still indicates that violence is escalating throughout Zimbabwe," Tanzanian Foreign Minister Bernard Membe told the BBC.


US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said violence from Zanu-PF supporters meant the run-off would not be free and fair.




Very sad if he does but the situation is spiralling out of control over there.

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