HARARE: EU observers on Wednesday criticised the Zimbabwe elections for being held on an "un-level playing field" as the opposition MDC protested against alleged widespread fraud by the election authority and ruling party.
The EU mission found an "improved political climate, but (an) un-level playing field and lack of trust in the process," it said in a statement.
"Observers reported... efforts to undermine the free expression of the will of the electors through inducements, soft intimidation, pressure and coercion against prospective voters to try to ensure a vote in favour of the ruling party," added EU chief observer Elmar Brok at a press conference.
"While political rights were largely respected, there was concerns regarding the environment for the polls (and) the misuse of state resources."
Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party won the most seats in parliament, official results showed Wednesday, with partial results due to later Wednesday in the key presidential race.
The parliamentary results strengthened the chances of President Emmerson Mnangagwa holding power, but triggered MDC demonstrations in Harare and fears of clashes between angry opposition supporters and the government.
Several hundred MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) supporters gathered outside the party headquarters in Harare, chanting and shouting that they had won the elections.