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Zimbabwe ruling party proposes new changes to constitutional amendments bill

[JURIST] The ruling party of Zimbabwe Thursday announced that it has proposed changes to a bill currently before parliament to amend the Zimbabwean constitution [PDF text]. The Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) [Wikipedia backgrounder] said that Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa presented a report to the politburo on the proposed changes, but it did not elaborate on what the changes were.

The Zimbabwean government published [JURIST report] the bill to amend the constitution in June. If adopted, the reforms would allow the simultaneous election of the president and both houses of legislature. Critics allege that the reforms are an attempt by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile] to weaken the opposition. The proposed amendments would end the existing assembly's term two years early in 2008, reduce the president's term from six years to five, and increase the number of legislators in the House of Assembly from 150 to 210 and the Senate from 66 to 84. In addition, the number of House of Assembly members appointed by the president would decrease from 30 to 10, but the number of senators appointed by the president would go from 16 to 34. AFP has more.

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