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Zanu-PF: Elections To be Held Under Existing Constitution Should New Draft Fail

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party is warning that if the country votes “NO” in the eventual referendum on the new constitution, elections will be held under the existing constitution as it stands.

Party spokesman Rugare Gumbo told VOA Monday that if the draft is rejected, the widely-discredited Lancaster House version will remain in force.

"We believe that the people of Zimbabwe are going to give the new constitution a thumbs-up, but should it fail, we definitely will go for elections under the old constitution," Gumbo said.

His sentiments followed the conclusion Sunday of public consultations in Harare, which had been shelved due to violence.

Responding to Gumbo's statements, deputy spokesperson Thabitha Khumalo of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Zanu-PF was getting ahead of itself in its agenda.

Khumalo's sentiments were echoed by deputy spokesman Nhlanhla Dube of the MDC formation of deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara who told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo his party insists that all reforms be in place before elections.

"Our position remains that elections should be held when all reforms have been put in place," he said.