A lawyer for Zimbabwe's electoral commission earlier said that it would be "dangerous" for the High Court to order the release of presidential election results, as demanded by the Movement for Democratic Change.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change has said its candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, won the March 29 vote outright, and accused Robert Mugabe, the president, of delaying the results so he can orchestrate a run-off.

Intimidation allegations

Tsvangirai said on Wednesday that troops had been deployed across Zimbabwe to intimidate people ahead of a second round vote.

"The military leaders in the establishment are trying to subvert the will of the people," he told Time magazine in an interview published on the internet.
  
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"This is, in a sense, a de facto military coup."

Tsvangirai has embarked on a trip around the region, beginning with Botswana, to encourage leaders to help end the standoff.

"I will be going around the countries in the region to make that point that [southern Africa] does not need that political chaos and dislocation on their doorstep," Tsvangirai told South African state radio.

Tendai Biti, MDC secretary general, said that regional leaders should push for Mugabe's resignation at the summit in Zambia.

"We don't know why the world has to wait until dead bodies start littering the streets of Harare," he said.
But Patrick Chinamasa, the former justice minister, brushed off calls for international intervention.

'Unwarranted intervention'

"Nothing has happened in Zimbabwe to warrant intervention by the UN There is no justification to internationalise Zimbabwe," he said.

The ruling Zanu-PF also accused the opposition of trying to destabilise the country by claiming victory in a presidential election before results have been announced.

"The claims are basically to destabilise the country," Chinamasa said. 
 
Zimbabwe's steep economic decline, which Mugabe's critics blame on him, has sent millions of Zimbabweans into neighbouring states.
 
The region fears even more severe consequences if the crisis worsens further.