Vote: Zimbabwe 'only ready in 2012'
Bulawayo - Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said on Thursday the country could only hold elections next year, contrary to President Robert Mugabe's call for an earlier vote.
"In 12 months we can have an election in this country," Tsvangirai told delegates for his Movement for Democratic for Change (MDC) party congress in the southern city of Bulawayo.
"Let it be free and let it be peaceful. We want polls whose outcome will not be contested," he said.
Tsvangirai had earlier said that elections proposed for this year would not be possible before the drafting of a new constitution is completed.
Mugabe, his partner in the shaky unity government, had called for elections this year to end the power-sharing rule formed in 2008 after a disputed presidential vote marred by violence.
But he has appeared to back away from his insistence on the polls, after regional leaders last month insisted that Zimbabwe draft a new constitution before going to elections.
On Wednesday, Tendai Biti, the finance minister from Tsvangirai's party, told local media that the country did not have money to hold the proposed elections in 2011.
The two-day congress is set to elect the new leadership of the party, but Tsvangirai’s position will not be contested after he was nominated unopposed by the party’s provinces last week.
"Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF took this country in 30 years to its knees. Our vision in the next 30 years is to be the best performing economy in Africa," said Tsvangirai,
"Our political reforms must create confidence for the country. Zanu-PF is a party of the past and MDC is the party of the future," he said.
The congress will be officially opened on Friday by Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who is also in a fragile unity government with President Mwai Kibaki after violent 2007 polls.