Zimbabwe awaits referendum results

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IOL pic mar18 zimbabwe referendum papers Reuters A Zimbabwean election official counts ballot papers after the close of voting on a referendum in Harare on Saturday.

Harare - The final outcome of Zimbabwe's referendum on a new constitution designed to pave way for general elections will be announced on Tuesday, according to the electoral commission.

“The result of the referendum shall be announced at 14h30 tomorrow, the 19th of March,” said the commission's boss, Justice Rita Makaraushe on Monday.

Preliminary partial results seen at polling stations and those compiled by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangira's office pointed to a landslide approval of the supreme law.

The draft constitution - a result of more than three years of work - clears the way for long-awaited elections that will decide whether to hand veteran leader Robert Mugabe a new term.

Mugabe and long-time rival Tsvangirai had lent their backing to the draft constitution which made its adoption at the weekend referendum certain.

The new constitution limits the presidential tenure to two five-year terms, curtails presidential powers and abolishes the post of prime minister.

The United States and regional observers handed the referendum a clean bill of health, describing it as peaceful and credible.

It was, however, tainted by the arrest, a day after, of Tsvangirai's staffers and a prominent lawyer.

There were also isolated cases of violence in the run-up to the vote. - AFP



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