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Court: Zimbabwe Must Hold Elections by July 31

Zimbabwe's Constitutional Court has ruled the country must hold elections by July 31.

The order Friday was in response to a lawsuit from an activist who demanded President Robert Mugabe set an election date before parliament ends its term June 29.

Mr. Mugabe and his allies have been pushing to hold elections as early as possible but his coalition partner and longtime rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, wants the polls delayed until political reforms are put in place.

The president signed a new constitution into law just two weeks ago.

Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Tendai Biti has said the country does not have the estimated $130 million needed to run the elections. The South African Development Community has called for a special summit June 9 to help raise the money.

Zimbabwe's last elections in 2008 degenerated into violence, most of it by Mr. Mugabe's supporters against his opponents. The longtime president was eventually forced to share power with his challenger, Mr. Tsvangirai, who now serves as prime minister.

The two men will likely face off again in the presidential poll. Mr. Mugabe, who is 89, has led Zimbabwe since the country won independence in 1980.