News24

Zimbabwe polls unlikely soon - MDC

2011-02-17 21:54

Harare - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said on Thursday that he thought new elections would not be possible this year as work on drafting a new constitution has yet to be completed.

"A referendum can only be held in either August or September," Tsvangirai told a visiting Germany business executives, referring to a referendum on the new constitution.

"With that estimate I don't see it being held this year. That's why I am saying it's impossible to hold elections this year."

Tsvangirai said he would snub any hurried election called by President Robert Mugabe who has indicated polls would be held this year with or without a new constitution.

"In terms of the law the president and myself have to agree as the main parties as when the elections will be held...." he said.

"Should Mugabe proceed to announce an election without my agreement then its a unilateral decision and we will not support that because it will mean one thing - a contested outcome and we don't want a contested outcome."

Free and fair elections

Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed a power-sharing government two years ago to avoid a descent into full-fledged conflict in the aftermath of a bloody presidential election and to mend an economy ravaged by hyperinflation.

The compromise government has been characterised by haggling over the allocation of key government posts.

Tsvangirai said the new elections should not be a repeat of the 2008 elections whose outcome he contested.

"For me and my party and for the people and for the international community, it's not just about holding an election," Tsvangirai said.

"It's about free and fair conditions for that election. It's about ensuring the outcome is not contested like 2008 for whatever reason."