Zimbabwe will hold elections in March

2012-10-22 22:08

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Harare - President Robert Mugabe on Monday said that Zimbabwe would "certainly" hold elections in March, and that they would be conducted under a recently drafted constitution.

"There will certainly be elections in March next year and we want to build a way now," Mugabe said, addressing a two-day constitutional meeting that drew more than 1 100 participants in Harare.

The "all-stakeholders conference" is meant to be followed by a referendum on the constitution and, if it is accepted, fresh elections.

But Mugabe was immediately contradicted by a spokesperson for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, his partner in a fractious coalition government since February 2009.

"That's his [Mugabe's] personal point of view," Luke Tamborinyoka, Tsvangirai's spokesperson told dpa. "The prime minister made it very clear last week that an election date has not been discussed or agreed by the principles," referring to party leaders in the coalition government.

Tsvangirai declared last week that Mugabe would not be allowed to call an election date without consultation.

Observers note, however, that the 88-year-old president has repeatedly ignored Tsvangirai over the last several years.

Mugabe, who has been in power for more than three decades, is under pressure from regional leaders to hold free and fair elections with a new democratic constitution, after more than a decade of ballots dismissed by Western governments as frauds.

The last elections in 2008 were fraught with violence, which primarily targeted the Tsvangirai-led Movement for Democratic Change, and other opposition groups.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  morgan tsvangirai  |  zimbabwe  |  zimbabwe elections  |  southern africa

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