Mugabe poll timetable 'impossible'

A Zimbabwean independent monitoring group has said it will be impossible to hold free and fair elections in March when president Robert Mugabe wants the polls.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network said the call by Mr Mugabe for full elections in the last week of March does not allow enough time to establish conditions for a free vote.

The group said it is "adamant that logistically it is impossible" to meet Mr Mugabe's timetable and complete constitutional and electoral reforms demanded by regional leaders.

It cited disputes in finalising a new constitution, continuing political intimidation and gross inaccuracies in voters' lists that still name "ghost" electors who have long been dead.

Rushed voting could not be held on "a fair playing field" and the outcome would be unacceptable by democratic standards, the group said.