Zimbabwe Constitutional Court Orders Elections by End of July

Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court imposed a July 31 deadline for the holding of elections and ordered President Robert Mugabe to announce the date soon.

“Elections should take place by no later than July 31,” Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku said, reading the court’s unanimous ruling in the capital, Harare.

Mugabe is “hereby ordered and directed to proclaim as soon as possible a date for the holding of presidential elections, general elections and elections for governing bodies of local authorities.”

Mugabe agreed on a new constitution on May 22 after negotiations with his main political rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, paving the way for elections this year.

The constitution had been in negotiation between Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party and Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change since disputed elections in 2008. After that vote, the two parties governed together under an agreement that brought an end to a decade of political and economic crisis, which saw inflation surge to 500 billion percent, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Today’s ruling came in response to a case filed by a citizen trying to force Mugabe to announce the election dates.

Mugabe, 89, has ruled the southern African nation since its independence from the U.K. more than three decades ago.

To contact the reporter on this story: Godfrey Marawanyika in Johannesburg at gmarawanyika@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net

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