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Leaders endorse Zimbabwe vote

AFP-JIJI

Southern African leaders opened an annual summit Saturday in Malawi, endorsing the outcome of disputed elections in Zimbabwe that extended President Robert Mugabe’s 33-year rule by five years.

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party said Friday he had withdrawn a legal challenge to the elections, claiming the courts would not be fair. That removed the last hurdle to 89-year-old Mugabe’s inauguration for a seventh term.

The Southern African Development Community’s observer mission for the July 31 elections judged the vote was free, but have not yet commented on its fairness.