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Zimbabwe votes on a new constitution

Zimbabwe votes on a new constitution
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Tensions are running high as Zimbabwe goes to the polls to vote on new constitution.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party, the MDC, announced that the Headlands district secretary was kidnapped this morning. They are pointing the finger at the Zanu-PF, President Robert Mugabe’s party.

Tensions were expected as the country went to the polls to vote on a new constitution which sets two five-year term limits for presidents. Presidential decrees would also require a majority in cabinet and declarations of emergency rule or dissolution of parliament would require a two-thirds majority of lawmakers. Both the MDC and ZANU-PF are asking for a ‘yes’ vote, so it is expected to pass.

The run-up to the referendum was relatively peaceful with a few violent disruptions reported in Mbare.

An election is expected in the second half of the year. Mugabe who has been President of Zimbabwe since independence in 1980 would still be eligible to stand as the new constitution would not apply retroactively.

The referendum was part of the power-sharing deal struck between political opponents Mugabe and Tsvangirai to end the violence following the last elections in 2008.