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Picture: O País
The Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on Tuesday amended the law on the National Elections Commission (CNE) so that the term of office of all 17 CNE members ends on 30 April 2020.
The law stated that the term of office lasts for six years – but nine members of the CNE were appointed in 2013 and eight in 2014.
The original nine members, chosen by the ruling Frelimo Party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) and civil society, took office ahead of the municipal elections of 2013. But the main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, boycotted those elections and did not appoint any CNE members.
In 2014 the electoral legislation was amended, and the CNE was inflated to 17 members, including four from Renamo and seven from civil society. The Renamo appointees, and four from civil society joined the CNE in 2014.
Replacing nine members of the CNE now would disrupt the Commission’s operations, just three months before the presidential, parliamentary and provincial elections scheduled for 15 October.
Hence the Assembly’s Commission on Constitutional and Legal Matters proposed an amendment to the electoral legislation, which will allow all CNE members to remain in office until 2020.
The Frelimo and MDM parliamentary groups voted for the amendment, but Renamo opposed it, largely because of the poor performance of the CNE during last year’s municipal elections, when the CNE accepted the result in four municipalities (Marromeu, Moatize, Alto Molocue and Monapo) where there was clear evidence of fraud.
Frelimo said the amendment was necessary in order not to disturb the current preparations for the 15 October general elections. Frelimo deputy Alberto Jumulate said that extending the term of office of the nine members would guarantee stability in the functioning of the CNE.
“We want to avoid the CNE operating with inexperienced people”, he said, “which could have a negative impact on the credibility of the elections”.
Speaking for the MDM, Ezequiel Amarane agreed, “in the name of the highest interests of the Republic and of the good functioning of our institutions”. The MDM, he said, was thus voting in favour despite the abuses committed by some CNE members.
Renamo deputy Juliano Picardo, however, said that the poor performance of the CNE last year showed that the nine members due to retire were in no condition to continue managing the current electoral preparations. He warned that there is a trend for post-election conflicts to worsen, rather than for problems to be solved.Source: AIM
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