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Zimbabwe Parliament to deal with constitutional changes next month
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21:21, September 17, 2008

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The Zimbabwe Parliament will next month deal with constitutional amendments necessary to give effectto the changes being introduced in the government resulting from the power-sharing agreement which was formally signed by the ruling and opposition parties, state media the Herald reported on Wednesday.

The Herald quoted Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Cde Patrick Chinamasa as saying that Constitutional Amendment Number 19 would be tabled when the House holds meetings next month.

"There will be constitutional Number 19 that seeks to regulate the agreement made by the political parties. These amendments would be tabled before Parliament when it opens next month," Patrick was quoted.

"There are some aspects they were agreed by the parties that do not need to be legislated while those that need to be legislated would be captured in our legal statutes," the minister said.

According to the Herald, Constitutional Amendment Number 19 is aimed at creating the post of prime minister which will be assumed by Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

According to the power-sharing deal signed by the ruling, MDC and its small faction, three cabinet ministers, one for each of the three parties, may be appointed from outside members of Parliament, the Herald said.

The three ministers will have the power to sit, speak and debate in Parliament but will not have voting powers.

President Robert Mugabe will also appoint an additional nine non-constituency Senators and has already named three, the state media said.

The amendments are expected to sail through Parliament becausethey are the basis of the inter-party talks which was mediated by South African President Thabo Mbeki, who is mandated with the Southern African Development Community, according to the Herald.

Under the deal formally signed by the three parties on Monday,Tsvangirai will become prime minister and Arthur Mutambara, leaderof a MDC faction, will serve as deputy prime minister. The Zimbabwean new cabinet will comprise 31 members, 16 of them drawn from the opposition.

Zimbabwe held presidential and parliamentary elections on March 29, in which presidential candidate Tsvangirai received a leading number of votes but failed to win outright.

The ZANU-PF lost its Lower House majority for the first time since the country's independence from Britain in 1980, but the MDCwon the majority by only a narrow margin.

The presidential run-off was held in June in which President Mugabe won a landslide victory. Tsvangirai withdrew from the run-off, citing various reasons.

The talks aimed at solving political and economic crisis in the country began in July to resolve the impasse resulting from Mugabe's unopposed re-election in June.

Tsvangirai demands the lion's share of power in the unity government, insisting on respecting the results of the first roundof polls, trying to place Mugabe in a largely ceremonial position of head of state, which Mugabe refused to accept, according to reports.

The negotiations were very close to a breakthrough on the eve of the Southern African Community Development summit held in mid-August, but later stalled as Tsvangirai requested to "reflect and consult" on a sticking point in the dialogues.

Source: Xinhua

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