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Zimbabwe’s political prospects remain highly uncertain. Since the beginning of 2011, relations between the main parties to the ‘inclusive government’ established following the signing of the September 2008 Global Political Agreement (GPA) have remained extremely fractious and difficult. Progress towards agreeing a new Constitution, which is supposed to be in place before elections can be held, has been painfully slow and there is still no date for a referendum on it. Elections must be held by June 2013. Levels of violence and harassment are again increasing.

The mediation efforts of the Southern African Development Community continue but many feel that they have been episodic and insufficiently sustained. Western restrictive measures (or sanctions) remain in force, although some steps have been taken to ease them. In July 2012, in response to progress made in the implementation of the GPA, the EU announced the suspension of restrictions on development assistance and pledged that it would suspend the majority of its restrictive measures if a credible and peaceful referendum is held on a new Constitution. In 2009/10 and 2010/11, Zimbabwe returned to the ‘Top 20’ recipients of UK bilateral aid, excluding humanitarian assistance.


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