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Zimbabwe PM's Party Issues Ultimatum On Issues Troubling Government

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's formation of the Movement for Democratic Change, a partner in the country's national unity government, issued an ultimatum calling for resolution of issues that have troubled the government since its formation in February.

MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti, finance minister in the unity government, said such issues had to be resolved by the principals in the government - Mr. Tsvangirai, President Robert Mugabe, and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, head of a rival MDC formation, by Monday or the matter would be referred to the party's national council.

Though presumably the national council would deliberate on whether Tsvangirai's MDC wing should continue to participate in the government, there was no explicit threat to leave it.

Asked by reporters whether his MDC formation was prepared to pull out of the government, Biti said his party remained committed to the power-sharing arrangement which he called "the best way forward for Zimbabwe.” The MDC agreed to share power with ZANU-PF as a way out of an impasse following disputed 2008 elections marked by deadly violence.

Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported.

Some doubted, however, whether such an ultimatum would have much effect given the dominant position of President Mugabe's ZANU-PF party in the government.

Political analyst Farai Maguwu of the Center for Research and Development in the eastern city of Mutare, told Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that he does not see President Mugabe being swayed by the MDC ultimatum.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...