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Zimbabwe voting extended

The deadline for casting ballots has been pushed to midnight as voters continue queuing.

FILE: Zimbabweans turn out in their numbers to vote in the constitutional referendum in Harare on March 16, 2013. Picture: AFP

HARARE - Voting in Zimbabwe has been extended until midnight on Wednesday as thousands remain in queues to vote in this year's presidential and parliamentary elections.

Veteran President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have gone head-to-head for the third time.

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has vowed to push Africa's oldest leader into retirement after 33 years in power.

The polls were due to close at 7pm, but given the large number of people who have yet to cast their ballots, the deadline had to be extended.

Further delays were caused when many voters were turned away and then told by Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson Rita Makarau to return to the polling stations to try again.

The electoral authorities have promised to release the results in five days. Though the election day has been calm, it was marred by rigging and intimidation.

MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti has claimed that thousands of opposition supporters were completely denied the chance to cast their ballots.

Meanwhile, Mugabe says he is not nervous about the outcome but will step down if he loses. MDC special advisor Alex Magaisa says they are confident the results will bring about change.

"[Tsvangirai] is very confident that the people of Zimbabwe will finally give him the mandate and that their will, will be respected because, for the past two elections, they have given him support but the will of the people has not been respected."