Zimbabwe president, opposition leader register for July vote

Zimbabwe’s military-backed president and a youthful opposition leader have registered for July 30 elections, the first without former leader Robert Mugabe’s participation.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the 75-year-old former Mugabe ally who took power with the military’s help in November, faces a stern challenge from Nelson Chamisa, a 40-year-old who has energized the main opposition party.

Leaders of four smaller parties also have registered, although that number could grow by the close of the registration process Thursday evening.

Mnangagwa has pledged free and fair elections and invited Western observers for the first time in nearly two decades. Past elections were marked by alleged fraud.

The main opposition has raised concerns about alleged military involvement in this electoral process and demanded transparency in the voters’ roll and in the printing of ballots.