17 Mar 2013

Zimbabwe votes on constitutional change

12:06 pm on 17 March 2013

Zimbabweans have voted in a referendum on a new constitution that would limit future presidents to two terms in office.

Measures in the proposed constitution include a bill of rights guaranteeing freedom of expression, devolution to provincial authorities and a halt to legal challenges against land redistribution.

On the role of president, the plans would place a limit of two five-year terms in office and scrap the president's power to veto legislation.

President Robert Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since 1980, defended the vote and said the people had been widely consulted about the changes.

The BBC said voters were expected to endorse the plans, while its correspondents reported many people do not understand the changes, and turnout at some polling stations was low.

Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF is in a shaky power-sharing deal with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The two parties agreed to share power in 2008 to resolve a violent dispute over the result of Zimbabwe's last presidential election.