[Los Angeles Times]
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Five years after bitterly disputed elections, Zimbabwe faced a new political conflict Thursday as President Robert Mugabe called elections for July 31 and his rival swiftly rejected the date.
The rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, told journalists he would not let Zimbabwe be rushed into “another illegitimate election.”
Mugabe issued a presidential decree Thursday setting the date, ignoring the opposition of Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, which says it would be impossible to hold free and fair elections by then.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai have been partners for four years in an uneasy government of national unity under a power-sharing deal brokered by neighboring countries to resolve the deadlock after last elections.