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Zimbabwe's top court to decide on poll date


18:05, July 04, 2013

HARARE, July 4 (Xinhua) -- The Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe is expected to rule on whether the country's general elections will proceed on July 31 as it started Thursday to hear cases on the poll date.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe in June proclaimed that harmonized elections, which combine presidential, parliamentary, and local council votes, will be held on July 31, but the veteran ruler instructed justice minister to appeal for a two-week extension heeding the recommendation of regional leaders.

However, Mugabe's long-time rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai contested the appeal, saying that two weeks are not enough to implement reforms to ensure a fair and free election.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai, forced into an inclusive government four years ago after the disputed presidential election in 2008, both registered to run for the president in the upcoming poll. Three others have also been qualified as presidential candidates but analysts say this year's election is likely another Mugabe- Tsvangirai game as in 2002 and 2008 elections.

Mugabe, already Africa's oldest ruler at the age of 89, is seeking to extend his 33-year rule of the country since independence in 1980. Tsvangirai has been challenging Mugabe since a decade ago but without outright success.

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