Wednesday 22 November 2017

Mugabe sparks fury with early elections

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe

Aislinn Laing and Peta Thornycroft Johannesburg

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 Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change has lost support since forming a coalition with Mr Mugabe's Zanu PF, and a July 31 poll will give it scant time to rally more voters.

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)

Irish Independent

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