President promulgates laws for October elections
File photo: Lusa
Frelimo seems likely to pick up two more seats due to an error in the law and a choice by the CNE.
The problem is that the law says that to determine the number of parliament (AR) seats per province, first divide the number of voters registered in Mozambique by 248 to give the number of voters per seat. Next for each province divide the number of voters by that number to determine the number of seats. But it does not work, because you cannot have half an MP, and rounding to ensure whole MPs often leads to an error. This year, the formula only gives 249 members of parliament instead of 250. (Only 248 seats are for provinces; 2 are for Mozambicans abroad.)
This has long been recognised and various methods have been developed. Many countries use the d’Hondt method to assign seats, and Mozambique uses d’Hondt everywhere except for calculating the number of seats for each province. The error has been noted repeatedly, but the law is never changed. Until now, the CNE has always made the correction in secret, and this Bulletin has always pointed out the secret change. On Sunday the CNE published a table admitting that it had made the change, giving the extra seat of Maputo Province, which votes a majority for Frelimo.
As we note about, the number of voters in a province is divided by the number of voters per seat. This gives a coefficient listed in the table below. Rounding means that if the decimal is more than 0.5 the number is rounded up to the next higher whole number and if it is less than 0.5 it is rounded down to the lower whole number.
Maputo provinces has a coefficient of 19.46. The decimal part, 0.46 is closest to 0.50, so the extra seat is given to Maputo province. But the law does not authorise this choice, made by the CNE.
The d’Hondt method does not give the extra seat to Maputo Province. Instead it gives 1 seat extra each to Nampula (46 instead of 45) and Zambezia (42 instead of 41) and 1 seat less each to Inhambane (12 instead of 13) and Gaza (21 instead of 22).
By Joseph Hanlon
Source: 2019 General Elections - Mozambique Political Process Bulletin