Zimbabwe’s presidential election winner Robert Mugabe has launched a stinging attack on his opposition rivals in his first public speech since he won the disputed poll.
Rejecting PM Morgan Tsvangirai’s claims that the vote was stolen, he said those against him could “go hang”.
Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) boycotted the speech.
The MDC has lodged a legal challenge against the result of the “stolen election”, demanding it be rerun.
Robert Mugabe won 61% of the vote in the election on 31 July, while Morgan Tsvangirai came second with 35% and Welshman Ncube third with 3%, according to official results.
The president’s Zanu-PF party also gained a parliamentary majority of more than two-thirds, winning 160 of the 210 seats.
In his Heroes’ Day speech, which dealt with a series of national issues, Robert Mugabe focused at one point on his election victory and called for celebrations.
“Those who lost elections may commit suicide if they so wish. Even if they die, dogs will not sniff their corpses,” he said.
“We are delivering democracy on a platter. We say take it or leave it, but the people have delivered democracy.”
Zimbabwe’s Western detractors had been “put to shame”, he added. “Never will we go back on our victory.”
Non-governmental organizations had been used to rig elections in 2008, he claimed, but Zanu-PF had never stopped planning since then and had “buried thieves in our midst”.
“We found we were dining with and sharing our bed with thieves. We will never give thieves the power to rule.”
Robert Mugabe has launched a stinging attack on his opposition rivals in his first public speech since he won Zimbabwe’s presidential election
Robert Mugabe’s main rival Morgan Tsvangirai won the first round of the 2008 presidential vote, but official results said he had failed to win outright.
He later pulled out of the second round because of attacks on his supporters, and eventually a power-sharing agreement was worked out.
Heroes’ Day is Zimbabwe’s proud annual celebration, when the country remembers those who died during the 1970s fight for independence.
Robert Mugabe was speaking at National Heroes’ Acre, the monument in the capital where some of those killed are buried.
Morgan Tsvangirai earlier called for calm, saying there was no national celebration for the day but rather “a nation in mourning”.
In a statement, published by the NewsDay newspaper, Morgan Tsvangirai said the majority of Zimbabweans were “still shocked at the brazen manner in which their vote was stolen”.
“We must all remain calm as we celebrate Heroes’ Day. I know that we will always be a heroic people.”
The MDC’s boycott of the national commemoration has exposed the deep rifts at the heart of this troubled country, our correspondent says.
Robert Mugabe has not yet been sworn in for a seventh consecutive term, since the appeal is ongoing. He maintains that he and Zanu-PF won free and fair elections.
The MDC has said it has “strong evidence of electoral irregularities”, including bribery, abuse of “assisted voting”, and manipulation of the electoral roll.
African and regional monitors praised the poll for being peaceful but noted some irregularities.
But a local observer group, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) and its network of 7,000 observers, said that about one million voters – mainly in urban areas – were “systematically disenfranchised” by being omitted from the voters’ roll or turned away.
The nine-member Constitutional Court is expected to discuss the complaint this week. It has up to two weeks to deliver its verdict.
But with several judges being supporters of Robert Mugabe, few expect the MDC challenge to bear fruit.
In a separate development on Sunday, state radio reported that the ministry of mines had denied a report in the Times newspaper that it had agreed to sell Iran uranium for its nuclear programme.
A ministry statement was quoted as stressing that the report was “a malicious and blatant lie”, and that no export licenses had been issued.
Iran’s foreign minister has also denied the report.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to form “as broad a government as possible” after his alliance won a narrow election victory.
His right-wing Likud-Beitenu bloc will have 31 seats in parliament – a sharp drop from 42, exit polls suggest.
In a major surprise, the centrist Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party came second with a predicted 18-19 seats, with Labour next on 17.
Analysts now predict weeks of political horse-trading to form a new cabinet.
They say that there is even a possibility that Benjamin Netanyahu’s alliance would end up being in opposition.
Although the Likud-Beitenu alliance is the largest seat-winner, the split of right and left political blocs is a dead heat at 60-60 in the 120-member Knesset, the Israeli Central Elections Committee website showed, with 99.5% of votes counted.
Thirty-two parties were competing under a system of proportional representation. Parties must win at least 2% of the total vote to secure seats.
Full election results are expected on Wednesday, and the official ones will be announced on 30 January.
Speaking shortly after the voting ended on Tuesday evening, Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the voters “for the opportunity to lead the state of Israel for the third time”.
In an apparent reference to his electoral setback, the prime minister promised to reach out to “many partners” to form a wide coalition.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to form as broad a government as possible after his alliance won a narrow election victory
“Tomorrow we start anew,” Benjamin Netanyahu said.
He also said that preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons remained the government’s first challenge.
Other top priorities, he added, would be stabilizing the economy, striving for peace in the region, more egalitarian military and civilian services and reducing the cost of living.
In a brief speech, Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Lieberman said: “I’m happy that our two main missions were achieved. We have ensured a continuity in the rule of the national camp and the continued leadership of Prime Minister Netanyahu.”
Benjamin Netanyahu is now widely expected to seek an alliance with a new nationalist party, Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home), which is projected to have 12 seats.
The party – led by Benjamin Netanyahu’s former chief-of-staff Naftali Bennett – has been recently challenging Likud-Beitenu’s dominance on the right.
Analysts say the 18 or 19 seats predicted for Yesh Atid, headed by journalist-turned-politician Yair Lapid, is a stunning result for a newcomer.
Yair Lapid has said he will not join Benjamin Netanyahu’s team unless the prime minister promises to push for peace with Palestinians.
“We have red lines. We won’t cross those red lines, even if it will force us to sit in the opposition,” Yaakov Peri, one of Yesh Atid’s leaders, told Israeli TV.
Labour is expected to get 17 seats – up from just seven in the outgoing parliament. Labour leader Shelly Yachimovich said: “There is a high chance of a shake-up and an end to the Netanyahu government.”
The wider world will examine these results for clues about Israel’s future attitude towards peace talks with the Palestinians or the possibility of a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, our correspondent says.
He adds that the truth of the matter is that it’s far too early to make those judgements which will depend on the balance of forces within a future coalition more than on the outcome of the popular vote.
But the sudden and decisive lurch to the right that many predicted has not happened, our correspondent says. The results show that there is plenty of life on the left and the centre of Israeli politics too.
Benjamin Netanyahu, 63, has been in office since the 2009 election. He also served one term as prime minister between 1996 and 1999.
In recent years he has accelerated home construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, drawing anger from Palestinian leaders and criticism from Western partners.
However, unlike in previous elections, the campaign focused largely on social and economic issues, rather than the prospects for a permanent peace agreement with the Palestinians.
There have been unprecedented protests against the rising cost of living and a recent report said nearly one in four Israelis lived in poverty.
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has admitted his party has lost the parliamentary election, in a live TV announcement.
Mikheil Saakashvili said the Georgian Dream bloc of his main rival, billionaire tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili, had won Monday’s election.
Victory for Bidzina Ivanishvili means the first democratic transfer of power in Georgia’s post-Soviet history.
Bidzina Ivanishvili said the “only right decision” would now be for Mikheil Saakashvili to resign.
While Bidzina Ivanishvili, 56, is set to become prime minister, his rival, who has led the country since 2003, is due to remain in power until presidential elections next year.
Under agreed reforms, the parliament and prime minister will acquire greater powers than the president after that election.
With results in from 72% of polling stations, Georgian Dream led the party list vote, which accounts for 77 of the 150 seats, with 54% of the vote. The president’s United National Movement was on 41%.
The rest of the seats are made up of 73 constituencies elected by a first-past-the-post vote.
President Mikheil Saakashvili said it was clear that Georgian Dream had won a majority.
Earlier Bidzina Ivanishvili, Georgia’s richest man, had already declared victory.
In his TV address, Mikheil Saakashvili said he would respect the Georgian people’s decision, and his party would become “an opposition force”.
“It’s clear from the preliminary results that the opposition has the lead and it should form the government – and I as president should help them with this.”
The US congratulated Georgians on the “historic milestone” of their parliamentary election and praised the president’s response to the result.
In a later news briefing, Bidzina Ivanishvili called on Mikheil Saakashvili to admit he would not be able to retain power, to resign and call a snap presidential election.
Mikheil Saakashvili, a pro-Western leader who champions the free market, has warned that the Georgian Dream bloc will move Georgia away from the West and back into Moscow’s sphere of influence. Russia defeated Georgian forces in a brief war in 2008.
But in his briefing Bidzina Ivanishvili said both normalization of relations with Russia and membership of NATO would be pursued.
“If you ask me <<America or Russia?>>, I say we need to have good relations with everybody,” Bidzina Ivanishvili said according to AFP news agency.
Bidzina Ivanishvili made his fortune in Russia in the early 1990s, with stakes in the metals industry, banking and later property, including hotels. Forbes business website estimates his wealth at $6.4 billion.
His success was welcomed in Moscow where Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said it would mean more “constructive forces” entering parliament.
Vyacheslav Nikonov, deputy head of the parliament’s international affairs committee in Moscow, said that in the eyes of both Dmitry Medvedev and President Vladimir Putin the Georgian president was a war criminal.
“Anything that would keep Saakashvili further away from the instruments of power is a plus for Russian-Georgian relations.”
It is a momentous day for Georgia – a day which strengthens the country’s democratic credentials. Georgia has experienced much political turmoil since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
The ugly election campaign had polarized the country and there were fears that the results would be disputed.
Observers from the European security organization OSCE said that “despite a very polarizing campaign the Georgian people have freely expressed their will”.
Georgia’s Central Electoral Commission (CEC) said there had been no grave violations during the voting.
More than half of the country’s population has no proper job. Older and poorer Georgians, in particular, are struggling and some feel nostalgic about the Soviet Union.
The OSCE said the election process had “shown a healthy respect for fundamental freedoms… and we expect the final count will reflect the choice of the voters”.
However, the statement regretted “detentions and fines of mostly opposition-affiliated campaigners” during the campaign.