Zimbabwean lawmakers are expected to pass constitutional amendments that clear the way for a unity government between President Robert Mugabe and the opposition.

State media Sunday quote Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa as saying a bill containing the amendments will be introduced in parliament Wednesday.  He said lawmakers are working on a timetable that calls for the bill to be passed by Thursday, so that the new government can be put in place within two weeks.

The bill creates the post of prime minister for opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.  The opposition Movement for Democratic Change agreed to join the new government last week, after months of negotiations.  

Observers hope the new government can end the state of crisis in Zimbabwe.  The country is suffering from food shortages, 94 percent unemployment, and a cholera epidemic that has killed more than 3,000 people.

Mr. Tsvangirai and Mr. Mugabe reached a power-sharing agreement last September, but progress was delayed because of a dispute over cabinet positions.

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