Mugabe says elections possible this year

2011-07-16 07:22

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe yesterday said new elections were possible this year despite a timeline that put the polls in 2012 at the earliest.

“We still have six months to go and elections can be held this year,” Mugabe told a meeting of his Zanu-PF party’s central committee.

“The inclusive government was never meant to last forever.”

Mugabe said Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) wanted to extend the so-called “global political agreement” under which it shares power with Mugabe’s party in a tense coalition government.

“When we appended our signatures to the global political agreement it was on the understanding that this was a vehicle for fresh elections which would decide who should govern this country,” Mugabe said.

“Having joined government and tasted the warm sweetness of power, the MDC formations no longer want elections. They want elections suspended indefinitely and their governorship extended to infinite.”

Negotiators from the rival parties agreed on July 6 to a timeline for election preparations that would put the polls in 2012.

The roadmap set down a timeframe of 45 days to complete new electoral laws, followed by 30 days for voter education and two months to prepare a new voter roll.

No decision was made on the date for a referendum on a new constitution.

Under Zimbabwe’s unity accord, signed after violent and inconclusive presidential elections in 2008, a new constitution must be approved by referendum before new general elections.

The constitution-writing process is running a year behind schedule. Drafters have set September as the target for a referendum, but repeated delays have cast doubt on the date.

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