Zimbabwe is ordered to hold by-elections
Zimbabwe’s supreme court has ordered president Robert Mugabe to call by-elections by the end of August, a ruling that could alter the balance of power in parliament between his ZANU-PF party and its rivals.
The case was taken to court by three opposition MPs who lost their seats in 2009 when they were expelled from a splinter wing of prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The high court ordered by-elections to be held, but Mr Mugabe appealed to the supreme court, arguing the government had no money to conduct the polls.
However, in a unanimous decision made public yesterday, the supreme court dismissed the appeal and ordered “new elections to fill the vacancies as soon as possible, but no later than 30 August, 2012”. It gave no reason for the decision and did not say whether elections should be held only for the three expelled or for another 30 seats vacant in the upper and lower houses of parliament because of the deaths of sitting members.
The MDC holds 96 seats in the 210-seat lower house of parliament, 10 short of a simple majority, against ZANU-PF’s 91.
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