Zimbabweans start voting to adopt new constitution

March 16, 2013 08:58

HARARE - Zimbabweans began voting on Saturday in a referendum expected to adopt a new constitution that would clip presidential powers and lead to an election that will decide whether Robert Mugabe extends his three-decade rule.

Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of his rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai are supporting the draft charter, making the vote almost a rubber stamp exercise.Results are expected within five days.

A new constitution is a prerequisite for the next presidential and parliamentary elections, expected later this year under a power-sharing deal signed by Mugabe and Tsvangirai in 2008 after violent and disputed elections.

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