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Zimbabwe's Coalition Partners Disagree Over Draft Constitution

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (C) is congratulated by the French Ambassador to Zimbabwe Francois Ponge (L) and his deputy Dietmar Petrausch after receiving the Commander of the Legion of Honor in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 21, 2012.
HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party has rejected a draft constitution submitted by a government-appointed committee. The leaders of the ruling party want a constitution that gives the president more powers.

Among the provisions of a draft constitution submitted last month by a government-appointed committee is one that mandates the president to share power with parliament.

ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said his party is not happy with that provision.

"There was a definite attempt to usurp presidential powers and give it to parliament," said Gumbo. "Parliament has to approve this before the president does. That we felt was not sensible."

Additionally, Gumbo said his party is against introducing dual citizenship, homosexual rights and the U.S. style of having running mates in an election. He said ZANU-PF wants the death penalty upheld in the new constitution. He said his party had handed its draft constitution to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party for consideration. The MDC party formed a coalition government with President Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party in 2009, following a disputed election.

South African leader Jacob Zuma - appointed by regional leaders to mediate between the two parties - last week failed to convince Mugabe and Tsvangirai to find common ground on the draft constitution. ZANU-PF leaders said that if the impasse continues, the two draft constitutions should be voted on in a referendum.
If such a referendum can be held in Zimbabwe later this year, elections are possible in 2013.