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Zimbabwe's election is July 31, Mugabe announces

June 13, 2013 at 2:52 PM

HARARE, Zimbabwe, June 13 (UPI) -- Zimbabwe's next election is scheduled for July 31, President Robert Mugabe said Thursday, prompting doubts a credible vote could be organized so quickly.

The announcement sets up a showdown between main political parties in only six weeks, and raised fears the election could be a repeat of the disastrous 2008 election in which opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai won most of the votes but refused to participate in a runoff election due to government violence targeting his supporters, The New York Times reported.

Mugabe has ruled the country since it gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1980.

Zimbabwe's highest court ruled on May 31 elections must be held by the end of July, despite the absence of key electoral reforms such as reforming the country's election commission and creating a new voter registration roll.

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