Mozambique – Rescheduling Presidential en Parliamentary Elections

In Mozambique, President Guebuza announced that presidential and parliamentary elections that were scheduled for October 2014 will now take place in 2015.

The previous presidential and parliamentary elections took place in October 2009 and the Constitution provides for elections every five years. President Guebuza’s statement that they will be delayed seems to confirm rumours circulating in the media that Guebuza has no intention of leaving office.

President Guebuza was elected in February 2005 and cannot be re-elected as the Constitution prevents him from having a third term as the head of state. So far, the President’s party, the ruling Liberation Front of Mozambique (FRELIMO), has not appointed a new candidate for the presidential elections. Moreover, FRELIMO, under the total command of Guebuza, and with majority power in the assembly, could change Constitution allowing the current President to remain in office for another term.

Mozambique also still has to contend with heightened security concerns in the country, which could rise in the lead up to earlier municipal elections set for 20 November this year. This comes amid the raised tensions and increased confrontations with FRELIMO’s long-running rival, the National Resistance Movement (RENAMO), which has threatened to boycott and disrupt the polls.

RENAMO demands amendments to the electoral law, among other grievances. RENAMO’s main objection concerns the composition of the National Elections Commission (CNE). Under the current law each party appoints at least one CNE member and the appointments should be in proportion to the number of seats held in parliament. Yet, RENAMO demands “parity”, by which it means that FRELIMO can appoint 50 per cent of the CNE, with the other 50 per cent shared between RENAMO, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) and civil society. RENAMO now refuses to appoint its members of the CNE.

After five months of talk, at meetings usually held once, and sometimes twice a week, negotiations between delegations of RENAMO and the Government have reached deadlock. A rapid resolution of the political impasse is urgently needed as local elections are scheduled for next month.

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