Zimbabwean president, rivals favour delaying polls

Harare, June 20 (IANS) Zimbabwean president and his main political rivals in the coalition government have agreed to file an application at the Constitutional Court, seeking extention of the general elections' date beyond July 31, 2013.

The three leaders -- President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, and Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube -- met Wednesday at the State House and gave consent on an agreement (over delaying poll date), reported Xinhua citing the prime minister's spokesperson.

The agreement followed a recommendation by Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), an organisation meant to ensure common political values, systems and institutions among its 14 member states in southern Africa, over the weekend urging the coalition government to approach the court for a deferment of the poll date.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai are believed to be the main contestants for the country's top post in the upcoming elections.

The poll date in question was unilaterally decided by Mugabe last week. Meanwhile, the formal document is being prepared by the three parties' senior members.

Mugabe last week proclaimed July 31 as the election date in compliance with a Constitutional Court ruling but Tsvangirai argued that he was not properly consulted for the proclamation.

Zimbabwe's last elections in 2008 were plagued by violence and had finally compelled Mugabe to join a power-sharing government with the opposition.