Zimbabwe's main opposition party said Saturday it would resort to court to force the release of presidential elections, expressing their fears veteran leader Robert Mugabe was pushing for a run-off as part of a strategy to exact revenge.
Lawyers representing Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change will ask a high court in Harare for an order compelling election officials to issue the results immediately, ending a delay that has raised suspicions of a tainted vote.
The MDC claims Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe and should be declared president of the economically devastated African nation, but independent observers say the MDC leader did not win an outright majority and faces a run-off against Mugabe.
The court case will begin at 0800 GMT, according to MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa.
"We want an urgent release of the results, within four hours of the court order," he said. "We're fighting the anxiety, disappointment, speculation and rumors as a result of this delay."
Senior officials of Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party said on Friday that they would back the 84-year-old veteran in the second round of voting, ending speculation earlier in the week that they might ask him to step down.
ZANU-PF said it would challenge some of the results of the parliamentary election, which showed it lost control of the lower house. Preliminary results from the upper chamber show Mugabe's party ahead by three seats.
The government-run Herald newspaper reported on Saturday that a provincial elections officer had been arrested in Zimbabwe's Midlands over charges that some polling stations under him had inflated vote tallies for the MDC and recorded lower votes for Mugabe and parliamentary ZANU-PF candidates.
"ZANU-PF in the province say they are checking every ward as they suspect a wider conspiracy," it said.