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By-election wins raise Zimbabwe opposition hopes of governing

Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa was Monday hopeful his party will win next year’s general elections after securing two-thirds of the seats in weekend parliamentary and municipal by-elections against heavy odds.

“We have done it country-wide,” Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Chamisa told a news conference in the capital.

His party, formed just three months ago as a splinter of the former largest and most credible rival to the ruling ZANU-PF, won 19 of the 28 contested parliamentary elections.

The vote was prompted by the recalling of members of his former Movement for Democratic Change Alliance, the deaths and reassignment of some of the incumbents.

The party also won 75 of the contested 122 municipal seats.

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“You know we had a lot of challenges,” said Chamisa whose party was barred by the police from holding some of campaign rallies.

“There was violence. We even lost one of our members. Some of our supporters were beaten and many others injured.”

He said despite the odds the party would win next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections.

“There is nothing that will stop us from forming the next government,” he said, admitting the electoral commission — perceived by critics to act in the interests of the ruling party — needed to reform.

Citing problems around voter registers, violence and intimidation, he said, “Yes, we had a landslide but that does not move away from the fact that elections in this country need fundamental reforms.”

The by-elections were seen as a key test for President Emmerson Mnangangwa’s ruling party ahead of next year’s general election.

No opposition has won an election and formed the government in the former British colony since independence in 1980. AFP