President Robert Mugabe has become Zimbabwe's sole law-making authority until the next elections are held following the automatic dissolution of parliament, his justice minister told state media on Sunday.

The country's legislature was dissolved on Saturday after completing its five-year term.

According to Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa this left veteran leader Mugabe as the only law-making power until new elections, for which no clear date has been set yet.

"There is no authority with the power to make legislation except the president," the Sunday Mail newspaper quoted Chinamasa as saying.

"The executive will be left legally limping because it needs the legislature for it to be fully functional," he added.

Mugabe and his long-time rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai disagree over the date for upcoming polls that would end their power-sharing government.

Mugabe unilaterally proclaimed July 31 for a presidential and parliamentary vote, but mediators have since pressured him to apply for a two-week delay.

Tsvangirai has filed an appeal, arguing that the proposed delay was too short to implement key reforms in media and the security forces.

This will be the longest time since 1980 independence that the country is run under presidential decree after the dissolution of parliament, according to Chinamasa.

"Normally parliament is dissolved the midnight before elections," he said.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed a power-sharing government four years ago to pull the country back from the brink of conflict.

New elections were due 18 months after the formation of the government, but disagreements over the reforms have derailed the vote preparations.

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