South Africa Pushes for Month Delay in Zimbabwean Vote

South Africa wants Zimbabwe to postpone elections by at least a month from July 31 to allow time for the government to implement “basic reforms” to ensure free and fair elections, a senior official said.

The Southern African Development Community, which brokered an agreement that led to a coalition government after disputed elections five years ago, has asked authorities to apply to the Constitutional Court to defer the vote.

The regional group is “hoping the court will be sensitive to the process of the resolution of some of the tensions in the build-up to elections,” Lindiwe Zulu, an adviser to South African President Jacob Zuma and a member of SADC’s facilitation team for the elections, said in an interview in Johannesburg today.

The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, led by President Robert Mugabe, 89, has shared power with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Party, since a 2008 election that international observers said was marred by violence and irregularities.

Mugabe on June 13 set the election date for July 31, which Tsvangirai said was “unlawful and unconstitutional.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Amogelang Mbatha in Johannesburg at ambatha@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gordon Bell at gbell16@bloomberg.net

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