Robert Mugabe has provoked warnings of a constitutional crisis by invoking presidential powers to bypass parliament and declare elections to be held in Zimbabwe on July 31.
It is the first time the 89-year-old has issued a presidential decree since the formation of a coalition government with rival Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister, in 2009.
Mr Tsvangirai accused Mr Mugabe of acting "unlawfully and unconstitutionally".
"As prime minister, I cannot and will not accept this," he said in Harare.
He said he would not accept a situation in which Zimbabweans were "railroaded" into "another illegitimate election".
Mr Mugabe said he was bound by a ruling of the Constitutional Court that elections be held by July 31 because of the expiry of the coalition agreement. (© Daily Telegraph, London)