On 22 June, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai announced he was withdrawing from the second round of the presidential elections in Zimbabwe. He said this step was due to the violence and intimidation suffered by his party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and its supporters.
Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued the following statement in Berlin today (23 June):
"Morgan Tsvangirai's forced withdrawal from the presidential contest is a severe blow to Zimbabwe and the whole region. The circumstances surrounding his decision to quit are very worrying. Democracy is a farce where people fear for their lives if they vote for the opposition.
I call on those in power in Harare to abandon violence and intimidation as political weapons at long last and to establish conditions in which human rights are respected and economic development is possible."