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Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe Resigns

Robert Mugabe has resigned as Zimbabwe's president, shortly after parliament began an impeachment process to end his nearly four decades of rule.

The 93-year-old clung on for a week after an army takeover and expulsion from his own ruling ZANU-PF party, which also told him to leave power.

On Tuesday, wild celebrations broke out during a joint sitting of parliament when Speaker Jacob Mudenda announced Mugabe's resignation and suspended the impeachment procedure.

People danced and car horns blared on the streets of Harare at news that the era of Mugabe -- who has led Zimbabwe since independence in 1980 -- was finally over.

Zimbabwe's former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa will be sworn in as president on Wednesday or Thursday, ZANU-PF legal secretary Patrick Chinamasa told Reuters, after the resignation.

Separately, ZANU-PF chief whip Lovemore Matuke told Reuters that Mnangagwa would be sworn in within 48 hours and that he would serve the remainder of Mugabe's term until the next general elections, which must be held by September 2018.

The origin of Mugabe's sudden downfall lies in rivalry between members of Zimbabwe's ruling elite over who will succeed him, rather than popular protests against his rule.

The army seized power after Mugabe sacked ZANU-PF's favourite to succeed him, Mnangagwa, to smooth a path to the presidency for his wife Grace, 52, known to her critics as "Gucci Grace" for her reputed fondness for luxury shopping.

Mnangagwa, a former security chief known as The Crocodile, is expected to take over as president.

Zimbabwe's military chief Constantino Chiwenga urged restraint across all political parties after the resignation.

AAP

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