"We are in the process of verifying the results and the process is going on very well. We will continue at 9:00 am [0700 GMT]," Mbanga told reporters as the talks broke up.

Party tallies

However, sources told the AFP news agency said that attempts to reach an agreement had been stalled as all the parties had presented different figures when asked to produce their results.

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Tsvangirai, who leads the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has previously said that he won the presidential election outright and that his party would reject any run-off.

Utoile Silaigwana, the election commission spokesman, denied that there had been a major rift but said that candidates had still to finish presenting their own tallies.
  
"We didn't finish the comparisons, because some were saying they didn't have complete figures and would bring them tomorrow," he said.

If there is no agreement on the results, the commission may then have to count the ballot papers again and further extend the wait for results which has already dragged on for nearly five weeks.

Sources said on Wednesday that Tsvangirai had won 47 per cent of the vote, while Mugabe had taken 43 per cent of ballots cast.

Tsvangirai, who leads the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has previously said that he won the presidential election outright and that his party would reject any run-off.

If he refuses to take part in a run-off ,Mugabe will be declared the winner.

Post-election violence

On Thursday, Tsvangirai told France 24 television that post-election violence had made it impossible to hold a second round run-off.

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"How can you have a run-off when Mugabe over the last month has been unleashing violence, death squads and violence against our structures," he said from Johannesburg in neighbouring South Africa.

The MDC claims that at least 20 of its supporters have been killed in post-election violence.

Human rights groups have accused the government of using the army and so-called "war veterans" of using the delay in publishing the results to intimidate opposition supporters before a possible run-off.

The government has dismissed the accusations.

In parliamentary elections held alongside the presidential poll, Mugabe's Zanu-PF party lost control of the 210 seat parliament that it had dominated since independence from Britain 28 years ago.