Zimbabweans approve new constitution by landslide

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has announced the much awaited results for the watershed constitutional referendum held at the weekend with 3 079 966 people giving thumbs up to the draft constitution, 179 489 voting NO while 56 627 were recorded spoilt.
That means that nearly 95% of voters in a referendum approved the new charter which was supported by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, political rivals who were forced into a power-sharing deal after disputed elections in 2008.
The official turnout on Tuesday, at slightly more than half the six-million eligible voters, was higher than many analysts had expected.
The new charter sets a maximum of two five-year terms for the president. However, the limit will not apply retroactively, so Mugabe (89), who has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980, could rule for the next decade.
Presidential decrees will also require majority backing in the Cabinet, and declaring emergency rule or dissolving parliament will need the approval of two-thirds of lawmakers, changes that will take effect after the next election.
A new constitution and a referendum were conditions of the 2008 power-sharing deal and Tsvangirai has said there would be no point in holding new elections without a new supreme law. (The Herald/Mail & Guardian)


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