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The election, the first since the military ousted Mr. Mugabe in November and installed his former deputy and ally, has been seen as a major test of Zimbabwe's democracy and its ability to hold a free and fair election.

A senior official of MDC's seven-party coalition, Tendai Biti, has agreed to hand himself over to the Zimbabwean police amid claims that he had incited violence and hatred during protests in Harare on Wednesday, which culminated in the army opening fire and killing three people. "This time we will not allow it, we will fight", said one protester who wore a red MDC beret in central Harare.

The most important thing for us now is to move beyond yesterday's tragic events, and to move forward, together.They, alongside the families of the victims, are in my thoughts and prayers at this hard time.

At least one person was shot dead by the soldiers near a bus rank, witnesses at the scene told a Reuters photographer.

The demonstrators, most of whom were supporters from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, unilaterally declared the victory of their own candidate, Nelson Chamisa.

The EU observer mission expressed "serious concerns" as representatives of Western and other groups gave their first assessments of whether the vote was free and fair - crucial for lifting worldwide sanctions on the once-prosperous country.

Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu said late Wednesday that the military will remain in the capital until "this situation is over".

It is a lesson for the opposition that in future they should not lose sight of the bigger prize. They also called for improvements in the counting procedure, saying the vote represented "a political watershed in Zimbabwe's history".

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The riots surged up to the fence of the Rainbow Towers Hotel & and Conference Centre, where the electoral commission has been announcing results and many worldwide election observers are staying.

The EU mission pointed out the "misuse of state resources, instances of coercion and intimidation, partisan behaviour by traditional leaders and overt bias in state media" but said Monday's election was largely peaceful in a break from the past.

The commission had said there was no rigging or cheating in the first national election since the end of Robert Mugabe's almost four decade rule. We urge leaders of all parties to call for calm from members of their respective parties.

Under Mugabe's 37-year reign, elections were often marred by fraud and deadly violence.

Three people have been killed in Harare, Zimbabwe police say, as soldiers dispersed stone-throwing opposition supporters who accused the ruling party of trying to rig Monday's presidential election.

MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, 40, said the presidential results were fraudulent.

"The strategy is meant to prepare Zim mentally to accept fake presidential results", he said, adding that he had won more votes than Mr. Mnangagwa. "No amount of results manipulation will alter your will", he tweeted before the army was deployed on Wednesday.

She said "the presidential results should be announced as quickly as possible to bring confidence in the elections back to the people". Mugabe was later be deposed as leader of ZANU PF and replaced with Emmerson Mnangagwa.