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Dec 15, 12:06 PM EST

The Latest: Zimbabwe leader: Little opposition ahead of vote


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HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- The Latest on Zimbabwe's new president (all times local):

7:05 p.m.

Zimbabwe's new president is urging ruling party supporters to refrain from violence in next year's elections as there is no opposition to talk about.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa addressed a party congress after it endorsed him as its candidate and closed the door on the era of former leader Robert Mugabe, who resigned last month.

Mnangagwa shut the opposition out of his new Cabinet that includes members of the military and ruling party. Zimbabweans are watching to see how his government will differ from that of his longtime mentor Mugabe.

The new president said Friday that next year's elections will be free and fair, as the United States and others have urged.

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5:35 p.m.

Zimbabwe's ruling party has officially endorsed the decision to recall Robert Mugabe and replace him with Emmerson Mnangagwa as its leader.

The ZANU-PF party congress also has endorsed Mnangagwa as its candidate for the 2018 elections.

Friday's decision follows decisions by the party's Central Committee and seals the fate of Mugabe, who resigned as president last month after the military stepped in and lawmakers began impeachment proceedings. The 93-year-old had been the world's oldest head of state.

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9:15 a.m.

Zimbabwe's ruling party is meeting to finalize Robert Mugabe's fall from grace and make new leader Emmerson Mnangagwa its candidate for next year's elections.

Mnangagwa was inaugurated last month after the military stepped in, hundreds of thousands rallied in the streets and lawmakers began impeachment proceedings against the 93-year-old Mugabe after 37 years in power.

Friday's meeting completes Mugabe's removal as ZANU-PF party leader. Images of his face are conspicuously missing, is as Mugabe himself. He flew to Malaysia and Singapore this week to visit family and seek medical treatment.

Now the 75-year-old Mnangagwa must find a way out of his longtime mentor's shadow, revive the severely weakened economy and win over the country ahead of elections. He has called for longtime sanctions to be lifted to ease foreign investment.

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