Zimbabwe's President Says 2012 Polls 'definite'

Published February 19, 2012 7:45AM (EST)

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe's president says he will "definitely" call elections this year to end a fragile three-year coalition with the former opposition and describes as cowards politicians who say polls cannot be held until well into 2013.

President Robert Mugabe, in an interview to mark his 88th birthday in the state media Sunday, dismissed objections to early polls. "That is what cowards say. Elections can happen at any time. ... Definitely, yes," this year, he said.

Mugabe turns 88 Tuesday. Speaking to the loyalist Sunday Mail newspaper, he said money will be found to pay for presidential and parliament elections.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party says polling cannot go ahead until constitutional reforms are complete, and rights groups have warned of an imminent upsurge of election violence.

By Salon Staff

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