Zimbabwe’s opposition spokesman Nelson Chamisa, left, of the Movement for Democratic Change speaks at a news conference. Picture: Reuters

Harare – Nelson Chamisa will run as the opposition’s presidential candidate in Zimbabwe’s elections later this year, the Movement for Democratic Change announced on Thursday, after the death of stalwart leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai, who was a thorn in the side of recently ousted leader Robert Mugabe for decades, died on Wednesday after a long battle with cancer.

The MDC “noted the power vacuum created by the departure of our iconic leader Morgan Tsvangirai and unanimously agreed that Nelson Chamisa will be the acting President of the party for the next 12 months,” MDC vice chairman Morgan Komichi told dpa.

“This means that he is the party’s presidential candidate in the forthcoming election,” said Komichi.

Zimbabweans will go to the polls in the coming months – a date has not yet been set – in the first election in over 30 years not to have Mugabe, 93, as a presidential candidate.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, who replaced Mugabe after he was forced out by a military coup in November, will run as the ruling Zanu-PF party’s presidential candidate.