Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, 89, who has been in power for 33 years, set a July 31 date for presidential elections, over the objections of his rival, current Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Al-Jazeera reported on Thursday.

Tsvangirai had been pushing for elections to be held on Aug. 25. "President Mugabe is acting unlawfully and unconstitutionally," Tsvangirai told Al-Jazeera, adding, "As prime minister, I cannot and will not accept this.”

“You can't set a date of an election without my concurrence. Period,” Tsvangirai said on Wednesday, prior to the announcement. “I will not give legitimacy to that election date unless we agree."

Tsvangirai had been pushing for a later election date in order to allow several reforms ensuring free and fair elections to pass the government. Unfortunately for him, the Zimbabwean Constitutional Court ordered earlier in June that elections be held in July, Al-Jazeera said.

Mugabe, for his part, said that he will abide by the court’s ruling, the Guardian reports. The current coalition government is due to expire on July 29.


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