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Zimbabwe's prime minister gets new poll ally

Monday - 7/8/2013, 8:51am  ET

Movement For Democratic Change(MDC) President Morgan Tsvangirai, centre, with Simba Makoni, left, leader of the Mavambo party and Zanu Ndonga representative Reketai Semwayo at a press conference in Harare, Monday, July 8, 2013. The trio formed a coalition in an effort to oust President Robert Mugabe in elections set for July 31 2013. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- A former Zimbabwean presidential candidate who garnered a small but significant number of votes in the last elections says he has joined forces with the nation's prime minister.

Simba Makoni said Monday he and his followers will back Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in the July 31 race against long-time President Robert Mugabe.

In violent and disputed elections in 2008, Makoni won 8 percent of the tally -- stopping an outright win by Tsvangirai over Mugabe and leading to a presidential run-off.

Tsvangirai boycotted the runoff amid spiraling violence targeting his supporters.

Makoni flanked by Tsvangirai said the two had formed a "coalition for change" for the upcoming poll.

A small breakaway faction of Tsvangirai's party has refused to join a united front against Mugabe's party.

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