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CNE chairman Abdul Carimo. [File photo: Folha de Maputo]
The Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, is proposing to extend the term of office of nine members of the National Elections Commission (CNE), including its chairperson, Abdul Carimo, reports the independent television station STV.
The 17 members of the CNE were appointed in two batches, a year apart. Nine members, chosen by the ruling Frelimo Party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) and civil society took office in 2013, ahead of the municipal elections of that year.
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.
The term of office for CNE members is six years – which means that the term of office of the first nine CNE members appointed has now expired, while that of the other eight will not expire until 2020.
Replacing nine members of the CNE now would completely 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 is proposing an amendment to the electoral legislation, to be voted on later this week, which will allow all CNE members to remain in office until May 2020.
The Commission’s chairperson, Edson Macuacua, said this was not an opportune moment to alter the composition of the CNE, given the advanced stage of preparations for the elections.
“The voter registration has concluded, and we are in the middle of presenting candidates for the parliamentary and provincial elections”, he said. “It would not be reasonable to interrupt the work of the CNE to elect new members. That would mean a discontinuity in the normal course of the electoral process”.
The Commission’s proposal would allow all CNE members to end their terms of office at the same time. A public tender calling for new nominations to the CNE would be launched in 2020.
There would be no additional costs involved in this procedure. “The current situation is not controversial”, said Macuacua. “There are no financial costs, and it will not disturb the electoral procedures under way”.Source: AIM
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