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Tsvangirai Campaign Caves to Violence, Unrest

Morgan Tsvangirai speaks to the media on June 22, 2008, announcing his decision to withdraw from Zimbabwe's presidential race.
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Morgan Tsvangirai speaks to the media on June 22, 2008, announcing his decision to withdraw from Zimbabwe's presidential race.

Less than a week before Zimbabwe's presidential runoff election, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai announced yesterday that he is pulling out of the race. In his announcement, Tsvangirai suggested a continuation of his campaign could become too costly to the well being of his supporters. In recent months, armed militias and government forces backing incumbent President Robert Mugabe have waged a vicious campaign of intimidation against Tsvangirai supporters, resulting in dozens of murders. An earlier runoff election, scheduled for last week, was postponed due to violence.

The development is the latest twist in a tumultuous campaign season that continues to gain worldwide attention. Although Tsvangirai emerged with a majority of votes in the March presidential elections, the margin of his win was not significant enough to clinch the nation's top office, according to officials.

Jeffrey Barbee, a freelance reporter in Zimbabwe, explains the recent developments.

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