Zimbabwe: The Power Sharing Agreement and Implications for U.S. Policy [May 13, 2009] [open pdf - 423KB]
"President Robert Mugabe, 85, and his party, the Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), have ruled Zimbabwe since its independence in 1980. Rising inflation and unemployment rates contributed in the late 1990s to the creation of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The MDC enjoyed initial success, campaigning against a referendum in 2000 that would have expanded the president's powers, made government officials immune from prosecution, and allowed the uncompensated seizure of white-owned land for redistribution to black farmers. The referendum failed, and the MDC won nearly half the parliamentary seats in that year's election. ZANU-PF has since taken numerous, often undemocratic actions to maintain power. After months of uncertainty following a power-sharing agreement, known as the Global Political Agreement, negotiated in September 2008 between ZANU-PF and the opposition, the parties reached a final accord in January 2009 that has led to the creation of a coalition government with senior positions divided among the parties. Given longstanding tensions between ZANU-PF and the MDC, many observers remain skeptical that the parties will truly share power. Initial reforms by the new government appear to have stemmed Zimbabwe's runaway inflation rate, but significant challenges to the country's recovery remain."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34509
U.S. Dept. of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://www.fpc.state.gov/