HARARE: Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday defended the landmark election in which he was declared victorious, despite claims from the opposition of vote-rigging.
"Here was a celebration of Zimbabwean democracy, a festival of unfettered freedom. With the eyes of the world on us we delivered a free, fair and credible election," Mnangagwa told reporters.
"No democratic process is flawless," he added, saying that Zimbabwe was "no exception".
But Monday's election -- the first since veteran autocrat Robert Mugabe was toppled last year -- was "open to the world like never before", Mnangagwa said.
Mnangagwa, who was chosen to lead the ruling ZANU-PF party in November after the military intervention that felled Mugabe, won 50.8 percent of the vote, according to final results.
It was just over the 50 percent needed to avoid a run-off with main opposition candidate Nelson Chamisa, who has dismissed the results as "fraudulent" and vowed to challenge them in court.
International observers have largely praised the conduct of election day itself, though EU monitors said Mnangagwa benefited from an "un-level playing field".