Zimbabwe announced on Wednesday it would choose a new president and parliament on July 30, in the country’s first electoral test since the removal of its autocratic former leader Robert Mugabe.
His successor, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, unveiled the date in the official Zimbabwe Government Gazette.
“Monday, the 30th day of July, 2018 (is) the day of the election to the office of President, the election of members of the National Assembly and election of councillors,” Mnangagwa said in a proclamation.
Once a right-hand man to the 94-year-old Mugabe, Mnangagwa dramatically succeeded the veteran leader in November after nearly four-decades in charge when troops swarmed the streets and briefly seized key sites.
Mnangagwa, 75, will square off against the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, now led by 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa following the death of Morgan Tsvangirai in February.
If no candidate receives a simple majority in the first round of the presidential election, a run-off will be held on September 8.
Elections under Mugabe were marred by corruption, intimidation and violence, but Mnangagwa has vowed to hold a free and fair vote.
The election will be the first to be monitored by Western observers in many years.
On Monday Harare and the European Union announced that observers from the bloc would monitor polls in the southern African country for the first time in 16 years.