Zimbabwe Elections

Media release

4 August 2013

Foreign Minister Bob Carr has called for a re-run of Zimbabwe elections based on a verified and agreed voters' roll.

"Australia has been a strong supporter of the people of Zimbabwe and we follow developments closely," Senator Carr said.

"I am pleased that last Wednesday's election proceeded largely without violence but the African Union, SADC, civil society groups and our own Embassy in Harare have all raised concerns with the voters roll and voting procedures.

"These appear to have disenfranchised large numbers of voters and raised doubts about the credibility of the election results.

"Prime Minister Tsvangirai's MDC party has called the elections a 'huge farce'.

"It is vital that the results of the elections are credible and reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people.

"Given our doubts about the results, Australia calls for a re-run of the elections based on a verified and agreed voters roll.

"In light of concerns about the credibility of the elections we are not proposing any changes to our remaining sanctions (travel bans and financial measures against 33 individuals and one entity) at this time."

The Australian Embassy in Harare contributed five accredited observers to a 'diplomatic watch' effort across Zimbabwe.

Those observations of the elections, as well as the views of the AU, SADC, and a wide range of NGO's will inform Australian Government policy towards Zimbabwe including any future steps on our sanctions measures.

Australia's sanctions regime against Zimbabwe was introduced in 2002.

Prime Minister and MDC-T Party Leader Morgan Tsvangirai made the case for Australia to lift sanctions during his Guest of Government visit in July 2012.

Following that Australia announced a three-stage roadmap for lifting sanctions on 7 February 2013.

The first adjustment to our sanctions list was announced on 11 March 2013 in response to the announcement of a date for the constitutional referendum in Zimbabwe on 16 March (completion of first stage of roadmap).

The second adjustment was announced on 27 May following the successful conduct of the constitutional referendum (completion of the second stage of roadmap).

Under the roadmap the remaining tranche of sanctions (travel bans and financial measures against 33 individuals and one entity) will be lifted when free and fair elections have been held and a democratically-elected government had taken office.

Our assessment of the July 31 elections is that they do not meet this benchmark.

The EU retains sanctions against ten individuals and two entities; the US lists 121 individuals and 67 entities; and Canada lists 181 individuals and four entities.

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