World News

TIMELINE - Zimbabwe's economic crisis

(Reuters) - Zimbabwe’s annualised inflation rate rose to a record 66,212.3 percent in December.

Following is a chronology of Zimbabwe’s economic crisis:

1998 - An economic crisis marked by high interest rates and inflation provokes riots and massive support for the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions headed by Morgan Tsvangirai.

1999 - The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is formed and Tsvangirai is appointed leader.

2000 - Mugabe gets taste of electoral defeat when voters back the MDC and turn down a proposed constitutional amendment which would have given the president more power.

-- Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF wins a parliamentary election amid charges of fraud and vote-rigging by the opposition.

-- Thousands of so-called independence war veterans, backed by the government, seize white-owned farms, saying the land was illegally appropriated by white settlers.

2001 - Government agrees to stop often violent land invasions in exchange for British funds to finance land reform. Mugabe later rejects criticism he has ignored the deal.

2002 - Mugabe wins election pitting him against Tsvangirai. Observers condemn poll as flawed and unfair. Commonwealth suspends Zimbabwe.

2003 - The IMF begins steps to expel Zimbabwe from the fund over dues unpaid since 2001. Commonwealth summit agrees to continue suspension, leading Mugabe to pull Zimbabwe out of the organisation.

2004 - The EU renews sanctions against Mugabe and his inner circle in February. In October the High Court acquits Tsvangirai of plotting to assassinate Mugabe and seize power, a ruling condemned by the government. Remaining charges are dropped in August 2005.

2005 - The ruling ZANU-PF wins the March parliamentary election, giving it the majority it needs to change the constitution.

-- In May-July some 700,000 people lose their homes or livelihoods after a highly criticised decision by the government to demolish urban slums.

2006 - Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rises above 1,000 percent in April dramatising the severity of its economic crisis.

2007 - Tsvangirai badly beaten in March after he attempts to attend a banned protest rally, spurring international condemnation of Mugabe’s government.

-- ZANU-PF endorses Mugabe as its candidate in the 2008 presidential election in December.

2008 - Mugabe announces presidential and parliamentary elections for March 29, 2008.

-- Zimbabwe announces on January 31 that inflation has hit 26,470.8 percent year-on-year in November, 2007, from 7,982.1 percent in September. There were no inflation figures for October.

-- The Central Statistical Office says on February 14 that the annualised inflation rate rose to a record 66,212.3 percent in December.

Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit;