Maputo: Frelimo calls for churches' involvement in voter education
Parliament could not decide about provincial assemblies, so it left an impossible mess and told the National Elections Commission to resolve it. This is clear in the provincial assemblies law (3/2019 de 31 de Maio) recently published in Boletim da Republica.
The problem is caused by the head of list system, under which the provincial governor is the head of the party list that receives the most votes in the province. Under the old law, provincial assemblies (APs) were highly decentralised – the constituency (circulo eleitoral) was the district. Each district had its own party lists in the elections, and AP members had to be registered to vote in the district they represented. But that also meant there was no provincial list with a head of list to be governor.
Parliament (AR) decided that as part of the decentralisation package, they had to reduce decentralisation and make the province rather than the district the only constituency for the AP. Thus there will simply be a single provincial list, and the head of the winning list becomes governor. But the AR still wanted district representation, and left the CNE with an impossible problem.
Article 6 of the AP law says:
1. The constituency is the province.
2. “For the purpose of democratic representation, 85% of the seats are distributed proportionally by districts, according to the number of registered voters; 15% of the seats are reserved for the provincial level which includes the head-of-the-list.”
3. The governor is the head of the list with the most votes.
4. “It is the responsibility of the National Elections Commission to materialize the provisions of this article, respecting the rules of the proportional representation method, according to the highest Hondt average.”
Paragraph 2 sets a problem for the CNE which is not resolved by paragraph 4. There is no problem in assigning seats to districts – the de Hondt method does that. But how are elected members of the AP assigned to those seats? There are no requirements that party lists include candidates from all districts, and there are no district lists. If the CNE assigns AP members randomly to districts, it can hardly be seen as “democratic representation”. The AR could not solve this conundrum so it is left to the CNE.
The editing of the law has clearly been done in some haste. In article 131 it confuses district and provincial elections commissions. In article 150 it talks of district assemblies, which the AR removed from the law. And article 6 refers to the “highest Hondt average” which is wrong. De Hondt is not a system based on averages, and is correctly designated in article 160 as a “proportional representation system” for distributing seats.
By Joseph HanlonSource: 2019 General Elections - Mozambique Political Process Bulletin