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Polls open in Zimbabwe as the president known as ‘the crocodile’ seeks a second and final term – WTOP News

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Polls have opened in Zimbabwe Wednesday as President Emmerson Mnangagwa seeks a second and final term…

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Polls have opened in Zimbabwe Wednesday as President Emmerson Mnangagwa seeks a second and final term in a country with a history of violent and disputed votes.

These are the second general elections since the ouster of longtime repressive ruler Robert Mugabe in a coup in 2017.

There are 12 presidential candidates on the ballot. The main contest is expected to be between the 80-year-old Mnangagwa, known as the “the crocodile”, and 45-year-old opposition leader Nelson Chamisa. Mnangagwa narrowly beat Chamisa in a disputed election in 2018.

Chamisa hopes to break the ruling ZANU-PF party’s 43-year hold on power.

A runoff election will be held on Oct. 2. if no candidate wins a clear majority in the first round.

This election also will determine the makeup of the 350-seat parliament and close to 2,000 local council positions.

The southern African nation of 15 million people with vast mineral resources, including Africa’s largest reserves of lithium which is a key component in making electric car batteries, has known only two leaders since gaining independence from white minority rule in 1980.

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