, HARARE, Mar 21 – Zimbabwe will hold elections by June 29 to end a shaky unity government formed four years ago between President Robert Mugabe and his rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, state media reported on Thursday.
“It is imperative to have the elections by June 29 because we will no longer have a parliament by then and a country cannot run without a parliament,” The Herald newspaper quoted Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa as saying.
“As the minister of justice I am not entertaining the holding of elections after June 29 unless circumstances beyond my control happen.”
His remarks came days after Zimbabweans endorsed a draft charter, one of the key preconditions for new elections to choose a successor to the power-sharing government that was negotiated by regional mediators after the 2008 disputed elections.
Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai back the draft, which curtails the president’s powers and sets a limit of two five-year terms.
Over three million Zimbabweans voted last Saturday in favour of the draft constitution.
Many said they had not seen, read or understood its contents.
The charter is expected to be gazetted next week before being submitted to parliament and then given the seal of approval by Mugabe.
Tsvangirai earlier this week welcomed the referendum result, saying it “sets in motion a new and democratic paradigm for the country”.