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Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe announces March 16 for vote on new constitution

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has issued an official proclamation setting March 16 as the date for the nation to vote on a new constitution.

A government notice formally published on Friday leaves a calendar month for distribution of the 160-page draft document and campaigning for a 'Yes' or 'No' vote. Independent advocacy groups say that is not long enough for a free poll to reflect the wishes of electors.

The draft constitution was completed on Feb. 6 after three years of disputes, bickering and delays. Democratic reforms to the constitution were a key demand of regional mediators after violent, disputed elections in 2008.

About 90,000 copies of the draft are being printed for distribution starting Monday.

Zimbabwe has nearly 6 million registered voters out of a population of 13 million.