Image: Zimbabwe election
Alexander Joe  /  AFP - Getty Images
Posters showing Zimbabwean presidential candidates Robert Mugabe, Simba Makoni and Morgan Tsvangirai, is seen in Harare on Sunday.
updated 4/28/2008 11:56:38 AM ET 2008-04-28T15:56:38

Zimbabwe's opposition leaders declared Monday that the country's opposition has won control of parliament for the first time in history — and that President Robert Mugabe must concede defeat.

Putting months of bickering behind them, opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara stood united to order Mugabe to step aside.

"In a parliamentary democracy, the majority rule," Tsvangirai said alongside Mutambara at a news conference in South Africa. "He should concede that ... he cannot be president."

More than a month after the elections, results from the presidential race have not been announced. Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, maintains that he won the presidency outright — although independent observers say he fell just short of the votes needed to avoid a runoff.

Tsvangirai reiterated Monday that he would not take part in a runoff.

"The question about a runoff doesn't arise. It doesn't arise because of the simple fact that the people have spoken, the people have decided," he said.

Recount still under way
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has been conducting a recount of 23 parliamentary seats from the March 29 elections.

Officials announced last weekend that recounts of 18 of 23 disputed parliamentary seats left initial results unchanged — enough to confirm opposition's seizure of control of parliament from Mugabe's ZANU-PF party for the first time since Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain in 1980.

Results of the final five disputed seats had been expected to be announced Monday, but there was no mention of the final count — and no word on when the presidential results would be released.

The two opposition leaders celebrated the results and said they have put past rivalry between them aside.

"We are here to ... say there will be no divisions among ourselves," Mutambara said. "We are all going to work together in case Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF try to sabotage the will of the people."

"We are in control of parliament. We are also controlling the senate. This is the state of affairs in our country," he said.

Tsvangirai said that the Movement for Democratic Change wants to work with former Finance Minister Simba Makoni, the third presidential candidate. He said the MDC also would also approach sympathetic ZANU-PF lawmakers to see if they would cross party lines.

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