Zimbabwe stops cabinet meetings before elections

Associated Press

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — The Zimbabwe president's office says weekly cabinet meetings have been cancelled for the rest of the month as the finance ministry confirmed it is battling to raise money for the hastily-called elections just three weeks away.

President Robert Mugabe's office said in a statement Tuesday the cabinet will only be recalled "if the need arises," allowing ministers in the country's shaky coalition government to campaign for the crucial July 31 vote.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti, the third ranking official in the prime minister's former opposition party, said he has had to "freeze" payments to government departments and only meet public service salaries to try to find a shortfall of about $85 million still needed for the poll.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, 61, began intense campaigning in the remote northeast Tuesday.

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