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Zanu-PF insists on Zim elections before year's end

Staff Reporter

President Robert Mugabe's party has rejected a timeline that his own negotiators hammered out a week ago, saying elections must take place this year.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s party has renewed its calls for new elections this year, rejecting a timeline that his own negotiators hammered out last week, a state daily reported on Thursday.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s party has renewed its calls for new elections this year, rejecting a timeline that his own negotiators hammered out last week, a state daily reported on Thursday.

“The politburo is unanimous that elections should be held this year,” Zanu-PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo told the Herald newspaper after the party’s top decision-making body met in the capital.

On July 6, negotiators from Mugabe’s party and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) agreed on a timeline for election preparations which would put the polls in 2012.

But the politburo said negotiators in the power-sharing government should revise the timeline to ensure elections are held this year, Gumbo said.

“Some of the timelines in the roadmap are unacceptable. Days that have been assigned to deal with some of these issues are too long. For example, you cannot say preparation of the voters’ roll should take 60 days,” he said.

“By the end of the year we should have elections if they expedite the constitution-making process, particularly the drafting and referendum stages.”

The parties have agreed that new electoral laws should be completed within 45 days from the July 6 signing of the roadmap.

Voter education should take place within the following 30 days, and preparation of a new voters roll within two months. 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 constitutional drafting process is running a year behind schedule. Drafters have set September as the target for a referendum, but repeated delays have left that deadline in doubt.—Sapa-AFP

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