Elections on Thursday for the 120 contested seats in Zimbabwe's parliament were largely peaceful.

 

But opposition leaders said the vote was skewed in favour of President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.

 

The seats won so far by the MDC were largely in urban opposition strongholds, and there was no word on how the party had fared in rural areas of Zimbabwe where the ruling party's support is strongest.

 

Peaceful campaign

 

But after a peaceful campaign, the opposition was hopeful its supporters had come out in large enough numbers on Thursday to allow it to claim power from the ruling party.

 

Charges in recent days that intimidation was rife, the electoral roll had been tampered with and large numbers were unable to cast ballots set the stage for a fierce debate over the results, expected to become clear on Friday and Saturday.

 

"We are not happy with the way the electoral playing field has been organised, and I think we all agree, on all benchmarks, this is not going to be a free and fair election," opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said as he cast his ballot at a primary school in an upmarket Harare suburb on Thursday.