New Delhi: In Zimbabwe, both the Opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, and the government have flatly denied any negotiations with the other side.
The denials follow much speculation that Tsvangirai's Movement For Democratic Change was in talks with the government to ease President Robert Mugabe out of power.
Projections by the ruling party and independent monitors suggest that Tsvangirai would beat Mugabe but fall short of the 51 per cent needed to avoid a runoff in three weeks.
Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980, and is widely believed to have rigged the 2002 elections.
But there is growing discontent against his rule, under which Zimbabweans suffered through the world's highest inflation ever — over 1 lakh per cent — food and fuel shortages, and an AIDS epidemic.
A team of election observers in Zimbabwe had earlier declared the country's hotly-contested Presidential polls 'peaceful'.
The South African observer mission said that the election could be considered 'credible' overall, despite some concerns.
Observers from the Pan-African parliament told the electoral commission they had found more than 8,000 non-existent voters registered on empty land in a Harare constituency.
The United States said it was worried by the conduct of the election and the absence of most international observers.