Zimbabwe opens candidate nomination ahead of July polls

Thursday, June 14, 2018

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HARARE, Zimbabwe (AFP) — Zimbabwe fired the starting pistol for election campaigning on Thursday when it formally opened the nomination process to presidential hopefuls ahead of polls due on July 30.

The election will be a key test for President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who succeeded long-serving autocrat Robert Mugabe after a brief military takeover in November and remains untested at the ballot box.

Candidates seeking to contest next month's presidential, parliamentary and local polls have just one day to submit their candidacy to one of several specially convened electoral courts across the country.

Mnangagwa, 75, of the ruling ZANU-PF party and Nelson Chamisa, 40, of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party are the presidential front-runners.

"I submitted the papers for his excellency honourable Emmerson Mnangagwa," said justice minister and Mnangagwa's election agent Ziyambi Ziyambi at the Harare High Court.

Chamisa's election agent, Jameson Timba, said the MDC was confident of victory.

"Nelson Chamisa has been successfully nominated as the presidential candidate for the coming elections... Chamisa is the next president of Zimbabwe," Timba told journalists in Harare.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) will publish the full list of eligible candidates later on Thursday.

The opposition has complained of irregularities ahead of the much-anticipated poll and called for the full electoral roll of voters to be published.

They have also demanded that the ZEC be overhauled to have fewer members with ties to the powerful military which is seen as backing Mnangagwa.

To register successfully, presidential candidates must pay a US$1,000 (850 euros) fee and be nominated by at least 100 registered voters from across the country's 10 provinces.

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