JUST IN: President Mnangagwa announces 2018 elections date, voter registration exercise to end in three days time

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President Emmerson Mnangagwa has announced the country's national elections will be held on 30 July, Reuters on Wednesday cited a government document as saying.

"J) fix Monday, the 30th day of July, 2018, as the day of the election to the office of President, the election of members of the National Assembly and election of councillors, that is to say, as the day on which a poll shall be taken if a poll becomes necessary in terms of section 46(1'7) (c) or 125(4)(b) of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13] for the election to the office of President or any such members of the National Assembly or councillors; and fix Saturday the 8th day of September, 2018, as the day of the runoff election to the office of President, that is to say as the day on which a poll shall be taken if such…" reads part of the Government Gazette published on 30 May.

More than 150 political parties are expected to take part in the polls.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) opened the voters' roll for inspection just over a week ago, and the exercise came to an end yesterday. This also implies that those who haven't registered to vote are now left with just three days to register before the ZEC closes voter registration exercise as well. According to law, three days after the president announces when elections will be held, the voter registration exercise has to be terminated so as to allow ZEC to start processing the final voter's roll.

The July election will be the country's first since independence in 1980 without long-time ruler and former president Robert Mugabe. About 5.5 million Zimbabweans have registered to vote in the country's elections.

In February this year, ZEC said general elections should be held on any date between July 21 and August 21.

Zec chairperson Priscilla Chigumba said under the constitution, the current president’s term of office expires on August 21, 2018 and according to Section 158 (1)(a) the next general elections should be held on any date between July 21 and August 21 unless Parliament is dissolved in terms of Section 158 (1) (b) or 158 (1) (c) of the Constitution.

“Section 143 of the constitution specifies that parliament is elected for five-year term which runs from the date on which the president elect is sworn in and assumes office in terms of Section 94 (1)(a),” Chigumba said in a statement yesterday.

“However dates for general elections are set by the president by way of proclamation in term of Section 144 of the Constitution. After a proclamation of an election date, the nomination courts must sit on a date which is at least 14 days and not more than 21 days after the proclamation date. The elections must be held on a day which is at least 30 days and not more than 63 days after the nomination court," ZEC said in a statement.

 


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