21 June 2001

ZIMBABWE: Election petition loss restricts ZANU-PF

President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party lost a fourth election petition case on Wednesday, and along with it the elected majority in parliament. The "Daily News" reported on Thursday that the loss meant Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) each held 56 seats each. In addition to this however, Mugabe has the power to appoint 20 non-constituency MPs and 10 chiefs to the house.

According to the report, the change in the balance of power is significant because it has robbed the ruling party of the two-thirds majority needed to amend the country's constitution. They would need the support of at least 15 MDC MPs to reach the required 100 votes, assuming that all ZANU-PF MPs and the chiefs voted in favour, the report said. A total of 28 petitions still have to be determined after the MDC withdrew two of its 37 original petitions and ZANU-PF won three. High Court judge Justice Vernanda Ziyambi ruled on Wednesday that Elliot Chauke of ZANU-PF was not duly elected as the MP for Chiredzi North in last June's parliamentary election. (IRIN)

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