Details of Zimbabwe power sharing deal released

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A power-sharing agreement signed Monday by the government and the opposition divides executive authority almost evenly between President Robert Mugabe and his main political opponent Morgan Tsvangirai, who became Prime Minister.

According to the agreement, which was released after the deal was inked in front of several regional leaders Monday, Mugabe retained his post and would chair the cabinet, while Tsvangirai would be in charge of the day-to-day running of cabinet and the government.

But Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe for 28 years, has been mainly relegated to political issues and functions such as accrediting ambassadors, declaring war, chairing national security council and granting amnesty and pardons.

The Prime Minister, on the other hand, will have overall responsibility over cabinet policy formulation and implementation, a power political lever.

He will also chair the council of ministers, a body that would be in charge of cabinet ministers, in addition to being deputy chair of cabinet itself.

The two sides agreed to a 31-member cabinet, almost evenly split between the government and opposition in terms of members.

However, they are yet to agree on the ministers to occupy the different cabinet positions.

Under the agreement, the two sides also agreed to write a new constitution within three months and to initiate a raft of legislative amendments to a number of the country’s laws, particularly relating to information and security. The new constitution will be put to a referendum.

Several regional leaders attended the signing of the power-sharing deal, brokered by South African President Thabo Mbeki. It is expected to end months of wrangling following a disputed presidential election earlier this year.

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