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Zimbabwe Political Rivals to Sign Power-Sharing Deal Monday


Zimbabwe's political rivals are to sign a power-sharing deal on Monday after months of negotiations mediated by South African President Thabo Mbeki.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and a leader of a smaller opposition faction, Arthur Mutambara, reached the deal last week.

Local media reported Sunday the three sides had been discussing a 31-member power-sharing Cabinet - 16 from the opposition and 15 from Mr. Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party.

The details of the agreement remain secret and are expected to be officially released at the signing ceremony in the capital, Harare. A number of African heads of state are expected to attend the historic event.

Sources close to the talks say Mr. Mugabe will retain the presidency in the unity government and will continue to chair the Cabinet, while Tsvangirai will become prime minister and lead the newly created council of ministers.

Mr. Mbeki mediated several rounds of talks between President Mugabe and Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change to end the months of political turmoil that followed disputed presidential elections.

The MDC gained control of parliament in March elections, and Tsvangirai won more votes than Mr. Mugabe in the presidential poll.

But official results showed Tsvangirai falling short of a majority, and he boycotted a run-off presidential election because of state-sponsored attacks on his supporters.

Mr. Mugabe won the uncontested run-off, extending his nearly 30-year rule.

Zimbabwe is suffering from a deep economic crisis, with food and fuel shortages that have helped drive up inflation to an estimated 11 million percent.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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