Zim electoral body 'ready' for polls

2013-06-12 20:36

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Harare - Zimbabwe's electoral commission said on Wednesday it was ready to organise elections planned for this year to replace a shaky power-sharing government, despite receiving only a fraction of the budget for the polls.

Commission chair Rita Makarau told senators that $150m was needed to hold the elections, but that the treasury has so disbursed just $20m.

The body "is ready to conduct the elections", she said.

"We are simply awaiting proclamation [of the date] and the release of the remainder of the budget for the elections to enable use to commence procurement."

Zimbabwe is due to elect a successor to the four-year-old power-sharing government of veteran President Robert Mugabe, and long-time rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Its tenure ends on 29 June.

No date has been fixed yet for the elections but the Constitutional Court has ordered that they be held by end of July, a victory for Mugabe and his allies who are pushing for polls as soon as possible.

Tsvangirai wants more time to allow the application of reforms to ensure a free and fair vote.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti has said country might have to borrow locally and abroad to finance the election.

The government had initially approached the UN for funds, but later dropped its request after disagreements over the make-up and mandate of an assessment team from the global body.

On Tuesday, the cabinet approved amendments to bring electoral laws in line with the new constitution which became law last month.

Read more on:    un  |  robert mugabe  |  rita makarau  |  tendai biti  |  morgan tsvangirai  |  zimbabwe  |  zimbabwe elections 2013  |  southern africa

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