October 12, 2005

MDC to boycott senate elections

Zimbabwe's main opposition has announced that it would boycott polls to a newly created upper house of parliament, saying elections in the country are a farce and breed "illegitimate outcomes". Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said his was the deciding vote at the meeting of the council, the party's supreme decision-making body. Recalling the party's decision earlier this year to contest parliamentary elections with a "heavy heart" and knowing they would be rigged, Tsvangirai said democracy in Zimbabwe was still a farce. "To this date, nothing has changed. The electoral management in Zimbabwe is still a recipe for political disaster ... [which] breeds illegitimate outcomes and provides for predetermined results."
Tsvangirai emphasised his party would "mount a national crusade against the senate elections". "The senate project is fundamentally flawed and does not attend to the demands of a comprehensive resolution of the national crisis," he said. "The Senate idea is an expensive project we can ill afford when millions face starvation, when millions live in a shrinking economy."
Elections to the senate are due on November 26. The governing Zanu PF says the senate will buttress legislative authority, but critics contend the move is aimed at further strengthening its stranglehold on Parliament, where it can already pass key decisions on its own. The 66-member upper house of parliament will comprise 10 traditional chiefs, 50 elected senators and six appointed by Mugabe, and was created under a controversial constitutional amendment. (The Mail & Guardian, South Africa)

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