Zimbabwe elections 'must be held by 31 July'

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (L) shakes hands with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai after he signed the new constitution into law at State house in Harare on Wednesday 22 May 2013 Robert Mugabe (L) and Morgan Tsvangirai (R) both backed the new constitution

Zimbabwe's highest court has ruled that presidential and parliamentary elections must be held by 31 July.

The Constitutional Court said President Robert Mugabe should set a date "as soon as possible".

Mr Mugabe, of the Zanu-PF party, is likely to face MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the presidential poll.

Mr Tsvangirai has been serving as Mr Mugabe's prime minister in a fractious coalition government since disputed elections in 2008.

Last week, a new constitution, backed by the main parties and approved in a referendum in March, was signed into law.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had called for the elections to be held later this year, so that changes in the new constitution could be implemented.

Mr Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980, had argued for an early vote.

The coalition government has helped end the hyperinflation that saw Zimbabwe's economy collapse.

But the administration has been fraught with squabbles over introducing reforms.

Five years ago, Mr Tsvangirai won the most votes in the first round of the presidential election but, according to official results, not enough to win outright.

He pulled out of the second round, saying his supporters were being targeted in a campaign of violence.

After Mr Mugabe went ahead with the election, winning with 85% of votes cast, regional mediators intervened to organise a power-sharing agreement.

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Africa stories

RSS

Features

  • Shinji Mikamo's father's watchTime peace

    The story of the watch that survived Hiroshima


  • A man hangs a Catalan flag at his balcony near Barcelona in 2013Caledonia homage

    Who are the Europeans with an eye on the Scottish referendum?


  • Elephant Diaries - BBCGoing wild

    Wildlife film-makers reveal the tricks of the trade


  • Hamas rally in the West Bank village of Yatta, 2006Hamas hopes

    Why the Palestinian group won't back down yet


  • A woman dining aloneTable for one

    The restaurants that love solo diners


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.