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MDC wins parliamentary speaker post

HARARE, August 25 – Zimbabwe’s main opposition won Monday’s election for the post of speaker of parliament in a further setback to President Robert Mugabe’s regime which lost its majority of seats five months ago.

Without a ruling ZANU-PF candidate, the Movement for Democratic Change’s (MDC) Lovemore Moyo got 110 votes of 208 ballots cast in a secret ballot for the lower house position, parliamentary clerk Austin Zvoma announced.

Moyo was nominated by Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC camp which beat Mugabe’s ZANU-PF out of a parliamentary majority in March for the first time since independence.

Paul Themba Nyathi, the candidate put forward by a MDC splinter group led by Arthur Mutambara, won 98 votes on Monday despite winning just 10 seats in March.

The ruling ZANU-PF – which holds 99 seats in the lower house – did not put forward a candidate after chairman John Nkomo was appointed to the upper house as a non-constituency senator on Sunday by President Mugabe.

The Zimbabwean parliament met for the first time Monday since parliamentary and presidential elections in March which led to months of political unrest that has still not been settled.

In March, Mugabe’s party got 97 parliamentary seats to the MDC’s 100. Mutambara’s faction got 10 seats and ZANU-PF gained two further seats in June by-elections.

The MDC now controls parliament for the first time but MDC leader Tsvangirai claims Mugabe fixed the result of the presidential election and pulled out of the runoff second round because of allegations of violence against his supporters.

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