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Mugabe Signs New Zimbabwe Constitution Into Law

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has signed into law a new constitution that curbs the powers of his office and clears the way for new elections.

Mr. Mugabe smiled and shook hands with fellow leaders, including long time rival Morgan Tsvangirai, after signing copies of the document Wednesday in Harare.

The new constitution was a condition of the 2008 power-sharing deal that made Mr. Tsvangirai prime minister after disputed elections.

With the new constitution in place, Zimbabwe is expected to hold elections later this year.

However, officials have said the government lacks funding for the vote, and analysts are concerned the polls could descend into the kind of violence that disrupted the 2008 elections.

Rights groups said Mugabe supporters beat and tortured hundreds of his opponents during that campaign.



The new constitution imposes a limit of two five-year presidential terms, although President Mugabe, who is 89, will be allowed to seek office again.

Other changes include more rights for women and a scaling back of the death penalty to exempt women, the young and the elderly.

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