Zimbabwe’s main opposition on Thursday named a former youth activist, Nelson Chamisa, as its candidate for upcoming presidential polls, the party’s first major test since the death of its charismatic leader and the ouster of Robert Mugabe .

Chamisa, 40, becomes the Movement for Democratic Change’s electoral champion after veteran leader Morgan Tsvangirai  died of cancer on February 14 at the age of 65.

Tsvangirai embodied opposition to former president Mugabe whom the MDC accused of vote-rigging, voter intimidation and authoritarian behavior.

But Tsvangirai’s final months were marked by increasingly public quarreling between his deputies over who would succeed him as leader.

This year’s polls will be the first since independence in 1980 not to feature Mugabe.

Chamisa, who trained as a lawyer, rose through the MDC’s ranks as a leader of its youth wing. He served as a minister between 2009 and 2013 in a rocky government of national unity.