Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Zimbabwe Senate Elections in November.

Zimbabwe MDC plans Senate boycott.

The MDC's leader is also walking to work protesting at fuel shortages. Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change says it will boycott Senate elections due in November. The elections are the result of a recent constitutional change that reintroduced an upper house into Zimbabwe's parliament. Government critics say the change was introduced to strengthen the hold on power of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

The MDC believes violence and fraud have made previous poll results unfair. "After intense debate and discussion, whereupon the guiding question was whether we compromise with or take on the Zanu-PF dictatorship... the council resolved to stay out of the Zanu-PF senate project," MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai told a press conference in Harare. The MDC has been divided over whether or not to participate in the Senate elections. According to one report, the party council was split evenly on the issue, and Mr Tsvangirai exercised a casting vote in favour of a boycott. Zimbabwe has had a single-chamber parliament since 1987, when President Mugabe abolished the Senate. But the government now says the reintroduction of the Senate will boost the authority of parliament.

Elinor Sisulu of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition - a non-party political group - welcomed the announcement, saying civil society organisations were against the constitutional change that had brought the Senate into being. "The Senate will be a tool of manipulation, putting more gravy for Zanu-PF," Mrs Sisulu told the BBC News website. "It will be highly expensive and serve no real purpose." At the weekend, Mr Tsvangirai said at a rally that the conditions did not exist for a fair vote on 26 November, when Zimbabweans are due to elect the new Senate. The Senate will comprise 10 traditional chiefs, 50 senators elected on a constituency system and six appointed by the president.
BBC News Website Report.


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