Zimbabwe's PM bows to pressure for July polls, says nation eager to end Mugabe's 33-year rule

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Zimbabwe's prime minister says his party is ready to contest elections on July 31 despite worries that the poll is taking place before democratic reforms can be completed.

Speaking at a gathering to kick off his party's three-week campaign on Sunday, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said he has had to bow to pressure for an early vote.

It was the former opposition leader's first official acceptance of the July date set by President Robert Mugabe.

He said he had read "the national mood" felt by ordinary Zimbabweans to end years of suffering in a political and economic crisis created by Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.

Tsvangirai said Zimbabweans are eager to vote Mugabe out of power.

Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.