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Zimbabwe lawmakers reintroduce candidate fees ahead of August vote | Election News

Presidential candidates must pay $20,000 and congressional candidates $1,000 to appear on the ballot.

Zimbabwean lawmakers are sticking to plans to charge presidential candidates $20,000 to vote and $1,000 to candidates running for parliament, despite opposition offers to lower the fees ahead of next week’s candidate registration deadline.

The fees, denominated in U.S. dollars, represent a 20-fold increase over those charged in the previous election in 2018.

During Wednesday’s debate, lawmakers from the ruling ZANU-PF party said the policy would ensure that only strong candidates run for office. They secured parliament’s approval of the electoral commission’s measure after the Constitutional Court ruled last week that lawmakers must debate it.

The opposition Coalition for Citizens’ Change (CCC) said the measure would hurt the right to vote and was trying to lower fees in time for Wednesday’s registration deadline.

Zimbabwe will hold presidential and parliamentary elections on 23 August amid the economic crisis.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was elected in 2018 following the coup that toppled Robert Mugabe the year before, will seek re-election. The 80-year-old’s main rival is lawyer and pastor Nelson Chamisa, 45, who heads the newly formed CCC.

In March 2022, the CCC won 19 of the 28 National Assembly seats in parliamentary by-elections, setting the stage for a close tie with ZANU-PF in the August 23 ballot.

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