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Tsvangirai: Zimbabwe Senate Elections Irrelevant

Movement for Democratic Change President Morgan Tsvangirai, stopping just short of declaring himself on whether the opposition should take part in the senate elections set to be held by the end of the year, is articulating arguments against doing so.

The leading opposition party is seeking the views of members around the country on the matter, and its national executive council will meet next week to consider whether to field candidates for the 50 senate seats to be filled by direct election.

Another 15 upper house seats will be directly filled by President Robert Mugabe.

The MDC faces something of a quandary in the decision it must make on the senate: participate in an institution whose legitimacy it challenges, or boycott senate elections and leave the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front a clear field.

The senate has been reinstituted by one the constitutional amendments rammed through parliament in August by the ruling party over MDC objections using the two-thirds majority secured in March general elections amid charges of vote-rigging.

Other constitutional amendments contained in the same legislation, signed into law by President Mugabe September 9, swept aside judicial recourse for those from whom the government has seized farmland, disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of voters of foreign origin, and empowered the government to bar foreign travel.

Mr. Tsvangirai tells reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he doesn’t consider it necessary to contest the senate elections, but in any case will leave the final decision in the matter to the party’s members and executive.

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