Tanzania will present a new constitution in 2014, a year before its next parliamentary and presidential elections, Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda said amid opposition pressure for reform.
Pinda said a constitutional review bill is expected to be tabled in parliament by October of this year.
Increasing poverty, unemployment, high food and fuel prices and allegations of corruption have been eroding support for the ruling party in east Africa’s second largest economy, Reuters reports.
President Jakaya Kikwete was re-elected in an October vote marred by a record low turnout and rigging accusations. He faces an ultimatum from opposition leaders to fix the economy, tackle graft and deliver a new constitution — or risk mass protests.
Opposition leaders, clerics and rights activists want to limit presidential powers, introduce electoral reforms and allow independent candidates to stand for parliament and president.
Among their demands are a change in the law to allow presidential results to be challenged in court and the formation of an independent electoral commission.
“It is the government’s expectations that the new constitution will be complete and ready for inauguration on April 26, 2014, when marking 50 years of the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar,” Pinda said in a statement from the prime minister’s office.
Mainland Tanzania (formerly known as Tanganyika) joined with Zanzibar in 1964 to form the Union of Tanzania.
Kikwete has promised to appoint a team to work on a new constitution after growing calls for changes to the country’s political system.