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'Zimbabweans vote in favour of new charter'

19 March 2013, 14:15

Harare - Zimbabweans have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a new constitution that would trim President Robert Mugabe's powers, unofficial results showed on Tuesday.

Tallies from regional counting centres published by state-controlled daily The Herald found 3.1 million voters of a total of nearly 3.4 people who cast their ballots had approved the supreme law.

The paper said 200 000 people rejected the proposed constitution in Saturday's vote.

An estimated six million citizens were eligible as voters.

The electoral commission is due to release the final official results at 12:30 GMT.

Mugabe and his long-time rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had lent their backing to the draft constitution.

The text limits presidents to two five-year terms in office, boosts parliament's powers and abolishes the post of prime minister.

The referendum held on Saturday was hailed by the United States and regional observers as peaceful and credible.

It's approval will also clear the way for elections later this year.

The new vote will end the tense power-sharing arrangement set up by Mugabe and Tsvangirai after chaotic 2008 elections.



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