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Zimbabwe Cabinet OKs Provisions for Timely Announcement of Election Results


The legislation would require the electoral commission to issue the results of presidential elections not more than five days after balloting ends - this a response to the five-week delay seen in the 2008 presidential runoff election

The Zimbabwean government has approved a slate of electoral amendments that are intended to transform the country’s discredited electoral system once passed into law by Parliament.

Among other provisions, the legislation would require the electoral commission to issue the results of presidential elections not more than five days after the election has been held.

The new law will also establish voter registration according to polling station, replacing the present system based on wards, which some charge the former ruling ZANU-PF party has used to rig elections.

Another provision would stipulate that police should be present in voting places only to keep order, not to involve themselves in the electoral process. And the bill proposes to set up a special unit in the office of the attorney general to prosecute perpetrators of political violence like that seen during 2008 national elections.

The cabinet agreed to maintain the system of presidential run-off elections if no candidate garners more than 50 percent plus one of the vote. Parliament is expected to take up the legislation when it reconvenes July 15.

Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa was quoted in the ZANU-PF leaning, state-controlled Herald newspaper as saying the Cabinet has instructed the Attorney General's office to draft the bill.

Deputy Justice Minister Obert Gutu of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that the new provisions will help to curb electoral abuses.

Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube of the MDC formation of Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara agreed that the reforms will make for a more level electoral playing field.

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