Zimbabwe unity talks break down

July 29th, 2008 - 6:04 am ICT by IANS  

Johannesburg, July 29 (DPA) Power sharing talks between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change broke down Monday, sources within and close to the MDC reported. An MDC official in Zimbabwe told DPA that the talks had reached an impasse over the distribution of posts in the proposed new government.

A Western NGO source close to the MDC also confirmed the talks had hit a stalemate.

Representatives from Zanu-PF and two factions of the MDC - the majority faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai and a smaller faction led by Arthur Mutambara - began talks four days ago on the formation of an “inclusive” government, as called for by the African Union at a summit in June.

The talks, scheduled to take place over two weeks in South Africa, had always been expected to be difficult, given deep-seated enmity between Mugabe’s party and Morgan Tsvangirai’s nine-year-old MDC.

The MDC official told DPA that Tsvangirai’s position in the proposed unity government was unclear.

The MDC defeated Zanu-PF in March parliamentary elections, and Tsvangirai took more votes than Mugabe in the first round of voting for president on the same day.

Mugabe went on to contest the violent run-off election solo and was inaugurated as president in late June for a further five years.

The MDC has proposed that Mugabe remain on as president with reduced ceremonial powers and that Tsvangirai would occupy a new executive prime ministerial post.

But Zanu-PF has ruled out Mugabe having anything other than a leadership role in the new government.

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