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International IDEA Headquarters in Strömsborg-Stockholm, Sweden. [Picture: @InternationalIDEA]
In an unprecedented action, the Foreign Ministry refused to accredit International IDEA, the intergovernmental agency which the EU is using to channel funds and support domestic observation. International IDEA is not an NGO, but an intergovernmental organisation – that is, its members are governments. It has the same status as the Southern African Development Community (SADC), for example. No one can recall Mozambique rejecting any other intergovernmental organisation.
But the effect of refusing to register iIDEA is that it could not obtain a tax number, open a local bank account, have an official office, or disburse funds to the various civil society observer organisations. This initially blocked EU support of domestic observation. IDEA stands for Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, and clearly its work is controversial. It is said to have trouble in at least one other African country. International IDEA refused to comment.
But diplomatic protest appears to have allowed a work-around. iIDEA has been allowed to hire and maintain a team of Mozambicans in Mozambique. iIDEA is transferring funds from its headquarters in Stockholm to partner organisations in Mozambique, and making payments for activities in Mozambique from its bank account in Stockholm.
The Foreign Ministry this week issued invitations to international observers missions, and this included the EU. The EU has been critical of past national elections, but it issued a very mild and non-critical report on the municipal elections last year.
The EU must still agree to send an observer mission, but under the circumstances this seems likely, and long term observers could be in Mozambique by the end of August.
By Joseph HanlonSource: 2019 General Elections - Mozambique Political Process Bulletin
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