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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • A simplified step-by-step guide to Zimbabwe's electoral process
    July 2013

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    1. The Electoral Cycle

    Zimbabwe has been holding harmonised elections since 2008. Harmonised elections are where elections are held at the same time for representatives of local authorities, Parliament (the National Assembly and the Senate), provincial councils and the Presidency. Harmonised elections are usually conducted every five years.

    2. Countdown to the Elections

    The five-year electoral cycle precipitates a heightened electoral mode in the socio-economic and political environment as it rolls towards its end and polls approach. This usually manifests in political parties carrying out their internal party processes of vetting and selecting their candidates (party primaries) and spearheading campaigns for their candidates and party positions (manifestos) relating to the impending election. In the run-up to the election, national processes that occur include voter education, voter registration and inspection of the voters’ roll to ensure that one’s name appears on the roll and s/he will be able to vote on Election Day.

    3. Dissolution of Parliament

    The dissolution of Parliament usually triggers the conduct of elections. Parliament can be dissolved by a two-thirds majority vote in both the National Assembly and the Senate, sitting separately and voting in favour of dissolution. The President can also dissolve Parliament on his own initiative if it unreasonably refuses to pass a Bill on the appropriation of revenue for approved government expenditure. If the President unilaterally dissolves Parliament, any Member of Parliament can approach the Constitutional Court and ask it to review the President’s conduct. Where Parliament has been dissolved in either of these two ways, elections must be held within ninety (90) days of such dissolution.

    If Parliament is not dissolved in either of these ways, it will automatically be dissolved at midnight on the day before the first polling day for the next election, which must be conducted at least thirty (30) days before the expiration of the five year electoral cycle. However for the 2013 election, the poll should be held within 90 days of the dissolution of Parliament.

    The five-year electoral cycle begins to run on the day when the president-elect in sworn into office following an election.

    4. The Proclamation of the Election Date

    The President proclaims a date for the holding of elections whenever they fall due after consultation with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). The proclamation issued by the President fixes the place(s), day(s) and time(s) for the sitting of the nomination court and the actual date for the elections. The proclamation also makes provision for the conduct of a presidential run-off election should one become necessary. This proclamation officially marks the start of the election period which runs from the date of the proclamation to the date of announcement of the results. In 2013, the Election Day has been set for 31 July 2013 and a possible presidential election run-off has been set for 11 September 2013.

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