HARARE, June 15 (Reuters) - Zimbabwean lawmakers upheld plans to charge candidates for president $20,000 to appear on the ballot, and those running for parliament $1,000, despite a bid by the opposition to reduce the fees before a deadline next week for candidates to register.

The fees, denominated in U.S. dollars, are a 20-fold increase from fees charged in the previous elections in 2018.

During a debate on Wednesday, parliamentarians of the ruling ZANU-PF party said the policy would ensure that only strong candidates run for office. They secured parliament's approval of the measure after the Constitutional Court ruled last week that lawmakers must debate it.

The opposition party Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) said the measure would undermine the right to stand for office, and had sought to reduce the fees in time for the 21 June registration deadline.

Zimbabwe will hold its presidential and parliamentary elections on Aug. 23, battling a raging economic crisis.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, elected in 2018 after a coup that deposed Robert Mugabe the previous year, will be seeking a second term in office. The 80-year-old's main rival is lawyer and pastor Nelson Chamisa, 45, who leads the newly formed CCC.

Reporting by Nyasha Chingono; Editing by Anait Miridzhanian

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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