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Makarau elected Zim elections chief

Zimbabwean Supreme Court Judge Rita Makarau will serve as the country's new elections chief.

Voters queue sitting to vote at Santana Video Centre polling station, Ayawaso West-Wagon Constituency in Accra, Ghana, on 8 December, 2012. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwean Supreme Court Judge Rita Makarau will serve as the country's new elections chief through upcoming elections, it was confirmed on Wednesday.

The appointment is crucial ahead of a planned referendum on a new constitution scheduled for next month.

General elections are likely to take place later in 2013.

The previous head of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe, stepped down for health reasons after his appointment in 2010.

Makarau is also the acting chief executive of the Judicial Service Commission.

Analysts have said Makarau, who is allegedly linked to President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, is not a consensus builder.

Zanu-PF and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change have been in a strained coalition government since 2009, following violence at the polls the previous year.

Robert Mugabe has presided over the country since its independence in 1980.

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