JoeHanlon: Elections – Renamo election law proposals

2014 National Elections
Mozambique political process bulletin
Number NE-4    20 February 2014
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Published by CIP, Maputo, Mozambique
Editor: Joseph Hanlon ( j.hanlon@open.ac.uk)
Material may be freely reprinted. Please cite the Bulletin.
web: bit.ly/NatElec
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Election law proposals to AR give Renamo more power & marginalise MDM

Renamo’s proposals to change the election law were made public today and are posted on our website http://www.cip.org.mz/election2013/

The proposals were presented to parliament earlier this week and apparently have the broad agreement of Frelimo and government, based on the recent negotiations. The main changes proposed are:
+ Increase Renamo’s representation on the National Elections Commission (CNE).
+ Politicise STAE, the election technical secretariat, by appointing Renamo and Frelimo deputy directors and technicians at national and provincial level.
+ Give Renamo a veto over all selections of polling stations and registration staff.
+ Allow parties to participate in the count in polling stations, and not simply observe.
+ Change the way protests are filed, to involve district courts, and make it easier to file protests.
+ Make it much more difficult for the police to arrest party delegates.

A clear thread running through all the proposals is to increase the power of the two largest parties in parliament, Frelimo and Renamo, and marginalise and reduce the power of the newcomer, MDM.

Under the proposals the CNE would have 17 members: 5 Frelimo, 4 Renamo, 1 MDM and 7 civil society. There would be no change in the procedures to select the civil society members or the President, which means the Abdul Carimo would retain the post. Frelimo and Renamo (but not MDM) would each appoint one member as a vice-president.  At present the CNE has 13 members:  5 Frelimo, 2 Renamo, 1 MDM, 3 civil society (including the chair), and two legal figures, a judge and a public prosecutor. Negotiators agreed to remove the two legal figures; Renamo would gain 2 seats and there would be 4 more civil society.

Renamo proposes to reduce the size of lower level election commissions, from 11 to 9 members, by removing two civil society members. Election commissions at provincial, city and district level currently have 11 members: 3 Frelimo, 2 Renamo, 1 MDM (which gives the opposition parity with Frelimo) plus 5 civil society. Renamo would reduce the number of civil society members to 3. It is not said how this would be done. Again there would be Frelimo and Renamo vice presidents, but not MDM.

Renamo proposes a heavy political component in STAE (Secretariado Tecnico de Administracao Eleitoral) at all levels. At national level there would be Frelimo and Renamo deputy director generals, 6 deputy national directors (3 Frelimo, 2 Renamo, and 1 MDM) and 18 technicians (9 Frelimo, 8 Renamo, and 1 MDM).

Provincial, city and district STAE would have Frelimo and Renamo deputy directors, 6 deputy department heads (3 Frelimo, 2 Renamo, and 1 MDM) and 6 technicians (3 Frelimo, 2 Renamo, and 1 MDM).

One of the biggest other changes proposed by Renamo is in the way the polling station staff – the mesa da assembleia da voto – is chosen. Each mesa would be chosen by the director and two deputy directors of the local STAE, but there would need to be a consensus, which would give the Renamo deputy director a veto and permit political appointments.

Renamo also proposes that all candidates for election be given an electronic copy of the electoral register 45 days before the election.

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