Mbeki set to pressure Mugabe to give in to opposiotion demands

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South African President Thabo Mbeki was due in Zimbabwe Wednesday for talks with President Robert Mugabe on the adjourned crisis negotiations aimed at ending the country’s electoral impasse.

The South African leader is mediating in talks between the government and the opposition in Zimbabwe to find a common ground on the disputed leadership of the country, following presidential elections in March and June.

The two sides, under Mbeki’s mediation, are currently engaged in negotiations in South Africa, but adjourned the talks early this week amid reports of a deadlock.

Both the opposition and the government are claiming leadership of the country after winning the first and second round of the presidential elections in March and June respectively.

The opposition pulled out from the June vote, citing violence and intimidation, but the authorities pressed ahead with the election with Mugabe as sole candidate.

Each side is insisting it is the rightful winner of the presidential vote, leading to political tensions in the country.

Under the South African-mediated talks, the two sides are exploring the possibility of a power-sharing deal as a way out of the electoral impasse.

Unconfirmed reports Tuesday said the talks in South Africa had deadlocked over the government’s offer of a third vice president post to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who won the March vote.

The reports said the opposition had turned down the offer, insisting on leading the government instead.

This, the reports add, was unacceptable to Mugabe.

Analysts said Mbeki was likely to pressure Mugabe in Wednesday’s talks to give in to opposition demands for a more powerful position for Tsvangirai in a unity government, such as the post of premier.

Under the current constitution, the post of prime minister is non-existent, and would have to be created via a constitutional amendment. Panapress .

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