Tsvangirai abides by ruling

The prime minister claims the Constitutional Court overstepped its mandate.

Zimbabwe Prime Minister and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Picture: AFP/JEKESAI NJIKIZANA

ZIMBABWE - Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party said on Sunday it will abide by Friday's controversial court ruling ordering elections to be held by July 31st, but the party's insisting on full reforms first.

The ruling is being seen as a victory for President Robert Mugabe's party which was pushing for early elections without reforms to the crucial media and security sectors.

Zimbabwe's state-run Sunday Mail said there was no room for electoral cowards in a clear reference to Tsvangirai's anger over Friday's court ruling.

The prime minister claims the Constitutional Court overstepped its mandate by ordering elections by the end of July: that, he insists, is a matter for him and President Robert Mugabe to decide.

After an emergency meeting on Sunday, the Movement for Democratic Change party said Mugabe still had to carry out media and security reforms before the elections are held.

Lawyers for Tsvangirai said privately that the ruling does not necessarily mean elections will definitely be held by July the 31st.

They point to a recent Supreme Court ruling that ordered Mugabe to hold by-elections in three vacant constituencies, a judgment that was later controversially set aside by the High Court.