THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) will announce results of Saturday’s referendum on the new constitution at 2.30PM on Tuesday, officials said.
ZEC chair Rita Makarau, a serving judge, told reporters on Monday that the votes had been tallied and officials were doing the final verification.
Observer teams from SADC and foreign embassies have hailed the referendum vote as “credible”, and early results posted outside polling station suggested the draft – supported by the country’s three main parties – will pass by a landslide.
Despite earlier estimates by the ZEC putting the number of voters closer to two million, the official Herald newspaper said “over three million votes were cast countrywide” – almost thrice the 1,282,302 votes cast in the 2000 referendum when the ‘No’ vote carried the day.
If confirmed, the turnout would be higher than the 2,696,670 who voted in the 2005 general elections, the 2,421,973 who cast their ballots in the March 2008 general elections and the 2,514,750 who voted in the June 27, 2008, presidential election run-off.
Zimbabwe has 5,6 million registered voters.
The new constitution protects individual freedoms, curtails police powers and introduces term limits for the President.
After the announcement of the results, parliament is expected to convene to adopt the draft – paving the way for elections which Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said will be held in July.
Zimbabwe’s political leaders were anxious for a violence-free vote in the referendum which was the first national vote since the June 2008 presidential run-off boycotted by Tsvangirai after Zanu PF militants targeted his supporters.