At least three people have been killed as police and soldiers in Harare clashed with opposition protesters amid a delay in announcing the winner of Zimbabwe’s presidential election. The scene in the capital has deteriorated into serious disorder, according to reports on the ground.

Gunfire was also heard after supporters of Movement for Democratic Change leader Nelson Chamisa took to the streets. Mr Chamisa has accused the ruling Zanu-PF party of electoral malfeasance and claimed he won the “popular vote” following Monday’s poll.

Zanu-PF won a two-thirds majority in the national assembly of parliament in the country’s first general election since Robert Mugabe was ousted from power in November 2017. The result means incumbent president Emmerson Mnangagwa’s party will be empowered to make changes to the constitution at will.

But the result of the presidential poll has not yet been announced. Zimbabwe’s electoral commission has repeatedly revised its stance on when the presidential winner will be announced, with European Union observers questioning the delay.

The EU team identified a string of problems in Monday’s poll. They said a level playing field was not achieved due to voter intimidation, media bias and misuse of state resources, though the largely peaceful process was a clear improvement over the Mugabe era.

The two main contenders in the presidential race were Mr Mnangagwa, a former deputy president and intelligence chief, and Mr Chamisa, a lawyer and pastor who leads the Movement for Democratic Change.

More than 5.5 million people were registered to vote and turnout was around 70%.

Both candidates issued upbeat assessments of how they did on polling day, with Mr Mnangagwa tweeting: ”I am delighted by the high turnout and citizen engagement so far”.

The election featured a record number of more than 20 presidential candidates and nearly 130 political parties vying for parliamentary seats.

Western election observers were in Zimbabwe, reflecting a freer political environment since the November resignation of Mr Mugabe, who had ruled since independence from white minority rule in 1980.

But there were concerns about bias in state media coverage of the election, a lack of transparency in ballot printing and reports of intimidation by pro-government local leaders who are supposed to stay neutral.