Friday, November 29, 2013

Rerun of Mozambique municipal elections in Nampula on sunday

The final results of Mozambique’s 2013 Municipal Elections are still unknown as a rerun of the elections in Nampula has been scheduled for Sunday. Mozambique’s Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE) has reactivated its voter education brigades in the northern city of Nampula to assure that all voters know about the election rerun on Sunday.

Mozambique’s Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE) has reactivated its voter education brigades in the northern city of Nampula, ahead of the re-run of the municipal elections there next Sunday, 1 December. The announcement about the rerun of the election in Nampula, on 1 December, was made by the Cabinet on Tuesday. The rerun became necessary after it was discovered that the name of one of the candidates was omitted from the ballots, prompting the National Election Commission (CNE) to annul the elections for Mayor of Nampula. In addition suspicions that there had not been secured appropriate security for the ballot boxes, and the wish to eliminate any possible suspicion of possible voter fraud, prompted the Cabinet to also order a rerun of the election for the Nampula Municipal Assembly.

Although the decision to rerun the election on Sunday gave the STAE the possibility to remount the voter education campaign there will not be adding any additional period for candidates to go on a campaign trail. After the decision was made by the Cabinet on Tuesday, the STAE went into action on Wednesday, dispatching its brigades of voter educators to all quarters and neighborhoods, with loudspeakers and megaphones blaring throughout the city to assure that everybody, without exception has heard that there is a rerun of the election for the office of Mayor and for the Municipal Assembly on Sunday.

The candidates for the office of Mayor of Nampula are:
    Absalao Siueia, of the ruling Frelimo Party,
    Mahamudo Amurane of the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement,
    Mario Albino, of the Association for Civic and Moral Education in the Exploitation of Natural Resources (ASSEMONA),
    Filomena Muturopa, of the Mozambican Humanitarian Party (PAHUMO).

It was the omission of Muturopa’s name on the 20 November ballot paper that caused the annulment. Running for seats in the municipal assembly are Frelimo, the MDM, ASSEMONA, PAHUMO and the Party for Peace Democracy and Development (PDD).


Présidentielle à Madagascar: la campagne démarre pour le second tour

La campagne électorale malgache pour le deuxième tour de la présidentielle débute ce vendredi 29 novembre. Robinson Jean-Louis, arrivé en tête du premier tour, affronte Hery Rajaonarimampianina, ex-ministre des Finances. Ils représentent respectivement l'ancien président Marc Ravalomanana, renversé en 2009, et toujours en exil, et Andry Rajoelina, tombeur de l'ancien président. Jeudi, dans la capitale, se tenait une réunion entre les deux candidats, à l'appel du Comité pour la réconciliation malgache. Robinson Jean-Louis a brillé par son absence.

La réconciliation nationale sous les applaudissements. A droite, le candidat Hery Rajaonarimampianina qui a reçu la « bénédiction », selon ses termes, d’Andry Rajoelina. Au milieu, le général Sylvain Rabotoarison, président du Comité de réconciliation malgache, et à gauche un représentant de Robinson Jean-Louis, Élysée Razaka, ministre sous Marc Ravalomanana.

Une question se pose immédiatement : pourquoi Robinson Jean-Louis n’est pas là ? Son représentant répond : « L’invitation du FMM (Force médiane mixte) est venue un peu tardivement, alors qu’il avait déjà un planning, donc d’aller voir les gens qui le soutiennent dans les régions.

Mais la réconciliation nationale, le CRN qui est quand même une institution de la feuille de route, ce n’est pas prioritaire ?
 C’est tout à fait prioritaire et disons que le candidat Jean-Louis Robinson a vraiment pris ça très au sérieux.
 Oui, mais il n’est pas là ?
 Ça, c’est les circonstances.

Les circonstances donc. Si Robinson Jean-Louis est élu et que Marc Ravalomanana rentre, est-ce que Andry Rajoelina pourra rester, comme il l’entend, sur le sol malgache ? Tout à fait. Il pourra rester comme il veut à Madagascar. Il n’y a aucun problème là-dessus, c’est sûr.

Source: RFI

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Début de campagne pour le second tour des élections à Madagascar

Vendredi 29 novembre commencera la campagne pour l'élection présidentielle et les législatives sur le territoire malgache. Les législatives représentent l'enjeu décisif. Le candidat Hery Rajaonarimampianina ne présente aucun député sous son nom. Le parti du candidat Robinson Jean-Louis lui présente une trentaine de candidats, loin d'une majorité parlmentaire. Pourtant ce sont les députés, issus des législatives, qui vont proposer un Premier ministre. Alors, les malgaches vont ils élire un président faible ?

Selon Sahondra Rabenarivo du Sefafi, l'observatoire de la vie publique : Oui, les malgaches vont élire un président faible, je pense que c'est exact . La juriste, poursuit. Robinson Jean-Louis devrait gouverner avec les députés issus de la mouvance Ravalomanana et du parti Vert, mais avec qui Hery Rajaonarimampianina, va gouverner, ça, c'est toujours un mystère.

Pour Jean-Eric Rakotoarisoa, professeur de droit « en effet,la question se pose. Hery Rajaonarimampianina ne présente aucun député aux législatives. En théorie, il devrait gouverner avec ceux de la plate forme d'Andry Rajoelina, mais il n'est même pas sûr qu'ils obtiennent la majorité. Au total, 2 052 candidats s'affrontent dans ces législatives, pour 151 sièges, à la future Assemblé Nationale. La majorité parlementaire doit proposer un Premier Minsitre,
que le président ne pourra pas refuser.

Conclusion de Jean-Eric Rakotoarisoa : « Que ce soit l'un, ou l'autre des candidats, qui gagne, le futur président n'aura pas carte blanche. Et quand on connait l'histoire de Madagascar, c'est plutôt une bonne chose.

Source: RFI

Mali elections to enter 2nd round in December

Mali's parliamentary elections will enter a second round on 15 December as no party has secured an absolute majority in the first round, according to provisional results published on Wednesday. Turnout in the 24 November polls reached 38.4%, "far short of our expectations", said Minister of Territorial Administration Moussa Sinko Coulibaly, as he announced the results.

Some 6.5 million Malians were eligible to vote for a new national assembly, with more than 1 000 candidates running for the 147 seats. The polls marked Mali's first steps to recovery after it was plunged into chaos by a military coup in March last year that triggered the fall of the country's north into the hands of armed Islamist groups allied with al-Qaeda. They finalised a process begun with the election of its first post-conflict leader in August.

The goal of the new Malian president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, is to give his RPM party and its allies a comfortable majority in the new assembly. Foreign and national monitors welcomed the smooth running of the election, which was generally peaceful apart from a few violent incidents in the north by Tuareg separatists. The observers nonetheless regretted the low turnout. More than 10 months after an armed intervention launched by France in January to hunt them down, the Islamist groups continue to stage attacks in the north of Mali.

Source: AFP

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mozambique Electoral Commission begins reclassifying invalid votes

Mozambique’s National Elections Commission (CNE) on Tuesday began “reclassifying” the votes declared as invalid at the polling stations in last Wednesday’s municipal elections. Polling station staffs tend to be strict in their interpretation of the guidelines, often rejecting votes as invalid simply because the voters have made a slight mistake in placing their mark, or have used a mark other than a cross or a fingerprint in the box beside the name of their favoured candidate or party.

The CNE’s “reclassification” is intended to rescue votes where, in the CNE’s view, the voter has expressed a clear preference. As from Tuesday afternoon, teams from the CNE, with support staff from the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE), began sifting through the thousands of supposedly invalid votes. They began with the southern province of Inhambane. This is a stronghold of the ruling Frelimo Party, and in all five municipalities in the province the Frelimo candidates for mayor have such large majorities that reclassifying the invalid votes will make no difference to the result. However, in the election of members to the municipal assemblies, the reclassification of even a few invalid votes could make a difference in the allocation of assembly seats between Frelimo and its main rival, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM).

The vast majority of votes that AIM saw in the reclassification room were truly invalid. These were ballot papers, for example, where crosses had been placed, clearly by the same hand, against the names of both candidates, of where a mark or a fingerprint smudge had been made in the space at the bottom or top of the ballot paper, but too far away from the names of the candidates to make a plausible claim that it was intended for either of them. Both Frelimo and the MDM were penalized by the strict rule that no words must be written on the ballot paper. Thus voters who wrote their names or initials against their preferred candidates were doing them no favours, and these votes were automatically regarded as invalid.

AIM saw one ballot paper in which the voter had firmly written “Nao” (no) against the Frelimo candidate’s name, and “Sim” (yes) against the MDM name. Although there can hardly be any doubt that this voter wanted to vote for the MDM, he or she fell foul of the “no words” rule, and the vote was deemed invalid. There were cases where a cross was put against one name and a fingerprint against the other, but this did not seem to favour one or the other candidate in particular. In the votes AIM observed (from the Quisssico and Vilankulo municipalities), there was no sign of the deliberate invalidation of opposition votes by adding a fingerprint elsewhere on the ballot papers. In previous elections when this has happened, it has usually been unmistakable.

The reclassification finished first in Inhambane city. In the mayoral election there, 742 votes were declared invalid. The CNE rescued 95 of them – 75 for Frelimo candidate Benedito Guimino, and 20 for MDM candidate Fernando Nhaca. This left 647 genuinely invalid votes. As for the municipal assembly election, of the 671 invalid votes, 60 were recovered for Frelimo and 16 for the MDM, leaving 595 definitively invalid votes. The CNE intends to reclassify the invalid votes from Gaza and Cabo Delgado provinces on Tuesday evening, and deal with the rest of the provinces on Wednesday. The CNE wants to finish this task as quickly as possible, in order to speed up the announcement of the definitive election results. The reclassification session at which AIM was present was observed by two journalists and three observers. Neither Frelimo nor the MDM seemed interested in protecting their votes since no monitors from either party were present.

Source: Club of Mozambique

Islamist party cries foul over Mauritania election

Mauritania's main Islamist party said on Monday the country's parliamentary and local elections had been marred by "ballot stuffing" and other forms of fraud. Tewassoul president Jemil Ould Mansour told a news conference the party had found "serious irregularities" which could discredit Saturday's polls, including "ballot stuffing in some places and the resumption of the vote after the count in others.

We cannot accept this fact in any way and we have sent a delegation to the (election commission) to talk about it," he said. He did not say which parties had benefited from the alleged ballot stuffing, a form of electoral fraud in which people submit multiple ballots during a vote in which only one ballot per person is allowed.

State television put the turnout at around 60 per cent, with the ruling Union for the Republic (UPR) widely expected to retain power but with many analysts expecting Tewassoul, only legalised in 2007, to make significant gains. Around 1,500 candidates from 74 parties representing the administration and the so-called "moderate" opposition were registered to vie for 147 seats in parliament and the leadership of 218 councils.

But Tewassoul was the only member of the so-called "radical" opposition, the 11-party Coordination of Democratic Opposition (COD), contesting the polls. The other coalition partners boycotted the vote. The electoral commission, which has been drip-feeding results from individual polling stations since Saturday, issued a statement saying the delay in announcing an overall picture was due to the "complexity" of the process and the need to be thorough.

Source: Africa Review

Monday, November 25, 2013

Mauritania stages peaceful election despite opposition boycott

Mauritanians voted Saturday in nationwide elections overshadowed by a widespread boycott of opposition parties, with all eyes on the performance of an Islamist party allowed to take part for the first time. The mainly-Muslim republic, a former French colony on the west coast of the Sahara desert, is seen as strategically important in the fight against Al-Qaeda-linked groups within its own borders, as well as in neighbouring Mali and across Africa's Sahel region.

I think these elections today are a victory for democracy in my country," President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz said after visiting his local polling station in Nouakchott. Around a third of Mauritania's 3.4 million people are eligible to vote in the first parliamentary and local polls since 2006, a test of strength for Abdel Aziz five years after he came to power in a coup and four years after he won a widely contested presidential vote.

His Union for the Republic (UPR) is expected to retain power and opinion is divided over whether the main Islamist party Tewassoul, only legalised in 2007, will provide a serious challenge to the favourites or sink back into obscurity following the election. Some 1,500 candidates from 74 parties representing the administration and the so-called "moderate" opposition are registered to vie for 147 seats in parliament and the leadership of 218 local councils dotted across the shifting sands of the vast nation.

Voting began on time at 7:00 am (0700 GMT) and closed 12 hours later, with no major incidents reported and turnout appearing to be strong in Nouakchott, according to an AFP correspondent visiting several polling stations. The process of voting appeared more complicated and arduous than had been expected, however, and long queues began to build up outside polling stations in the capital soon after they opened.

Voters, most of whom are illiterate, faced the difficult task of finding the symbol for their party among several electoral lists covering parliamentary and council seats. Towards the end of the morning many stations were tripling the number of booths available for casting ballots. I came in the early morning, I have just voted. There was a long wait but I have done my duty," said an elderly woman at a Nouakchott polling station.

Party activists near several polling stations discreetly tried to canvas last-minute support, breaking election law. I know propaganda is forbidden near polling stations on election day, but everyone is doing it," said a campaigner called Rabia when challenged by a journalist.
Tewassoul is the only member of the so-called "radical" opposition, the 11-party Coordination of Democratic Opposition (COD), contesting the polls after its coalition partners said they would "boycott this electoral masquerade".

The party, associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, professes to hold more moderate beliefs than the country’s jihadist fringe and draws support from female voters and Mauritania's young, urban middle-class -- although it has just four seats in parliament. Party leader Jemil Ould Mansour, who has described Tewassoul's participation as a form of struggle against the "dictatorship" of Abdel Azi, complained of foul play in the voting process after casting his ballot.

I note that deficiencies have been observed by our members, including a campaign inside a polling station by its manager in favour of one particular party and the refusal in some places to let our representatives into polling stations," he said. The UPR is the only party fielding candidates in every constituency, making it a strong favourite over Tewassoul, its closest rival, and the People's Progressive Alliance of parliament leader Messaoud Ould Boulkheir.

I hope that this election will end the political stalemate that exists and I think the door of dialogue should remain open to achieve this," Ould Boulkheir said. Following independence from France and the ensuing one-party government of Moktar Ould Daddah, deposed in 1978, Mauritania had a series of military rulers until its first multi-party election in 1992.

Abdel Aziz seized power in a 2008 coup and was elected a year later, but the COD has never accepted his rule as legitimate and demanded he make way for a neutral leader to administer the vote. We made the necessary effort to ensure that everyone could participate in these elections but, unfortunately, not all the parties were involved," the president said after casting his ballot.

I think, unfortunately for them, they missed an opportunity, an important date, because they find themselves in a situation where they will be absent from the National Assembly and therefore the political debate. The first preliminary results were expected to be announced on Sunday.

Source: AFP

Results trickle in after Mauritania election

Results from polling stations across Mauritania began to trickle in Sunday but the electoral commission said it wasn’t in a position to give an early picture of nationwide trends. The commission said counting had been delayed in many regions where people were allowed to cast their ballots after the official deadline, adding that definitive results from Saturday’s election would be made available “perhaps in the middle of the week.”

State television has put the turnout at around 60 percent, a figure that, if confirmed, would severely undermine a campaign by a large swathe of opposition parties calling for a boycott of the polls. A handful of polling stations have published their results, however, indicating a large lead for the ruling Union for the Republic and improved results for three opposition parties that did participate, Islamist group Tewassoul, the People’s Progressive Alliance of parliament leader Messaoud Ould Boulkheir and el-Wiam.
Highlighting irregularities

The three announced they would join the boycott to highlight voting “irregularities,” including 600 people in one Nouakchott constituency being unable to find their names on voter lists, if a second round were required. Around 1.2 million people were eligible to vote in the first parliamentary and local polls since 2006, a test of strength for Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz five years after he came to power in a coup and four years after he won a widely contested presidential vote.

Some 1,500 candidates from 74 parties representing the administration and the so-called “moderate” opposition contested 147 seats in parliament and the leadership of 218 local councils. But Tewassoul was the only member of the so-called “radical” opposition, the 11-party Coordination of Democratic Opposition (COD), to contest the polls after its coalition partners said they would “boycott this electoral masquerade.

Source: Al Arabiya

Friday, November 22, 2013

Mali and Mauritania to Hold Legislative Elections on Saturday

Mali and Mauritania go to the polls this weekend for legislative elections.  Both countries are trying to put the finishing touches on post-coup democratic transitions.  However, security concerns in Mali and an opposition boycott in Mauritania have raised concerns of more instability ahead. Mauritania holds parliamentary and municipal elections on Saturday.  Malians vote for their new National Assembly deputies on Sunday.

Campaigning in both countries has been subdued.

These are Mauritania's first legislative and local elections since a 2008 military coup.  Coup leader Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz was elected president in 2009. Tensions have since climbed between the ruling party and the lead opposition coalition, and these elections were postponed several times. All but one of the 11 parties in the Coordination for Democratic Opposition are boycotting Saturday's vote, which they have called a "masquerade."  Opposition protestors clashed with security forces in the capital, Nouakchott, on Monday.

The only main opposition party contesting this race is the recently legalized Islamist party, Tewassoul, which is associated with Mauritania's Muslim Brotherhood. Analysts said the boycott could backfire on the opposition ahead of next year's presidential race. Mauritanian political analyst Cheikh Mohamed Horma said, "these elections are supposed to be about finding a solution to a political crisis that has lasted several years but that has failed. Instead," he said, "the elections could just make things worse."

Campaigning is also wrapping up across the border in Mali.
It's been almost two years since that country plunged into crisis.  A Tuareg rebellion kicked off in the north, followed by a chaotic military coup in the south.  Al-Qaida-linked Islamist groups took over the north for nine months until French and African troops intervened alongside the Malian army. The presidential elections this July and August went off without major incident.  Voter turnout reached a record high.  Longtime opposition figure Ibrahim Boubacar Keita became Mali's new president and promised a "new era" for the country.

However, Malians said it's going to take more to restore their faith in politicians.  Many are predicting a low turnout for Sunday's vote. A man in Bamako said they hoped there would be a lot of change at the National Assembly, that it would no longer just be a place where people show up to check in and check out and that instead the new representatives would work hard. Security remains a top concern for voting in the north where French, Malian and U.N. troops continue to hunt remaining Islamist fighters who have struck back with deadly suicide attacks.

Rockets were fired on the northern town of Gao on Thursday, just three days before the vote. The situation in the far northern town of Kidal remains especially tense.  Kidal is the stronghold of Tuareg separatist group, the MNLA. There have been sporadic clashes between MNLA fighters and Malian soldiers since a June ceasefire deal.  Two French journalists reporting in Kidal were kidnapped and killed this month.  Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility.

Source: Voice of America

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Madagascar: 10% additional voters for second round election

The independent National Electoral Commission for the Transition (CENIT) announced the integration on the electoral lists for the second round of the presidential election, December 20, about 10% of voters more, omitted until then and who were unable to vote in the first round on October 25.

Modified electoral lists will thus be closed on December 5, as indicated in the Midi Madagasikara newspaper. The total number of voters, estimated by the CENIT on the basis of the data in its possession, should exceed 8,500,000," said Béatrice Atallah, President of the CENIT. 7.823.305 voters were registered on the electoral lists for the first round of the Malagasy presidential election, on a total population which varies according to the numbers between 20 and 22 million people.

 Source: Indian Ocean Times

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Security increased in north Mali ahead of weekend legislative election

Authorities are stepping up security in north Mali as the country prepares to hold legislative elections amid growing concerns about the presence of al-Qaida militants. Sunday's vote will mark the first time Malians have voted for legislators since the March 2012 coup that unleashed chaos across the north. Hubert de Quievrecourt, communications adviser with the French-led military mission in Mali, says the situation is particularly complicated in the Kidal region.

He says the French military is adding an additional 150 troops to the area ahead of the vote, bringing the total presence there to 450. Two French journalists were killed earlier this month near Kidal, underscoring the security threats that remain in the area. Malians elected a new president in August, though turnout in Kidal was a meagre 12 per cent.

Source: The Province

Mozambique Elections: Smooth start to voting with initial high turnout

Voting began on time at 7 am across Mozambique and our journalists report sizeable queues at most polling stations, indicating an initial high turnout. Voting is going smoothly, although sometimes slowly.  Very high turnouts with over 100 people in queues for each polllng station were reported in Ribaue, Gúruè, Lichinga, Maxixe, Chimoio, Gondola, Marrupa, Macia. Bilene, Xai Xai, Nampula, Meuda and Massinga. In some places people had been queuing since 5 am.

But low turnout was noted in a few places such as Montepuez, Chibuto, Angoche, Ulongue. Nhamatanda, and Vilankulo. In Chiure and Moatize our correspondents report high turnout at some polling stations but not at others. There are only a few reports by our journalists and @Verdade citizen correspondents of polling stations which did not open on time, for example in Pemba, Chibuto, Chokwe and Matola. Two polling stations in Nampula reported problems with the registration books, where numbers did not correctly correspond to names.

Candidates are allowed to vote first, and there have been some complaints, for example in Mocuba, candidates were openly urging voters in the queue to select them. Campaigning near the polling station is illegal. Journalists report that 2 MDM delegates were not allowed into a polling station in bairro Samora Machel, Chibuto.

Source:  @Verdade

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mauritania police beat protesters urging poll boycott

Mauritanian police on Monday crushed a protest by hundreds of youths demanding a boycott of upcoming elections, wounding several. An AFP reporter saw police beat the activists and spray them with tear gas as they waved placards and chanted slogans outside the offices of the election commission in the capitalNouakchott, calling for a boycott of Saturday's parliamentary and local elections.

The police violently attacked the demonstrators despite the peaceful nature of their movement, using tear gas and batons," said Idoumou Ould Mohamed Lemine, spokesman for the Coordination of Democratic Opposition (COD) that organised the protest. Many people, mostly women, were wounded and transported to hospitals inNouakchott," he added, condemning "these acts of violence which are contrary to democracy and the free expression that the government prides itself on".

The injuries appeared to be minor, according to the AFP journalist at the scene. Mauritania, a mainly Muslim republic and a former French colony, is seen by Western leaders as strategically important in the fight against Al-Qaeda-linked groups within its own borders, in neighbouringMaliand across Africa'sSahelregion.
Around a third of its 3.4 million people are eligible to vote in the first  parliamentary and local polls since 2006, two years before a coup mounted by  junta chief Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

The strongman was elected president in widely contested polls in 2009. Around 1,500 candidates have been on the campaign trail since November 7, vying for the leadership of 218 local councils and 147 seats in parliament. But 10 parties in the 11-member COD are boycotting what they call an “electoral masquerade" after talks on how the vote should be run broke down in October. Thousands of the coalition's activists marched through Nouakchottearlier this month to protest against the staging of the polls but the campaign has been conducted without major incident.

Source:  AFP

Monday, November 18, 2013

Professor complains about Rajoelina support for Presidential candidate

 For Jean-Eric Rakotoarisoa, Professor of law at the University of Tananarive, interviewed by Radio France Internationale, the official support of Andry Rajoelina to Héry Rajaonarimam-pianina may lead to disqualification of the latter.  For that, the special electoral court must seized of an application, and determines if, in fact, Hery Rajaonarimampianina has benefited, or benefits from the support of Andry Rajoelina", says law professor.

While the President of the Transition in Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina, announced on 9 November in the newspaper Le Monde of officially supporting Hery Rajaonarimam¬pianina for the second round of the Malagasy presidential election, on December 20, relations between the two men would not continue ti be excellent as relates the newspaper L'Express of Madagascar.
Hery Rajaonarimam¬pianina, former Minister of Finance, came in second with 15.93% of the vote behind Jean-Louis Robinson (21.10%) seems to be bothered by such support that goes against the electoral rules enacted, because the president of the Transition, Andry Rajoelina, as the other members of the Government, may not legally be determined officially for one of the candidates.
Thus, under article 15 of the roadmap of crisis that frames the poll, "the President, the Government and the heads of institutions must remain neutral (...) particular during the election process".

Rajaonarimampianina was able to finish second because it is a service that has been proven and is not from the coup of 2009. It has a positive image in the opinion that it was not considered to be all men of this Transition. If you change course for the second round, it will be the disaster," says an activist of Hery Rajaonarimam¬pianina who assiduously qualified candidate campaign headquarters for the second round of the presidential election, as relates the newspaper L'Express de Madagascar.

  Source: Indian Ocean Times

Guinea's Supreme Court rejects election challenges

Guinea's Supreme Court on Friday rejected all the complaints lodged against the result of the September 28 parliamentary election in which President Alpha Conde's RPG party won the most seats. The RPG took 53 seats, defeating its rivals but falling short of an absolute majority in the 114-seat parliament. A few dozen young opposition activists gathered on a main street in the capital Conakry on Saturday to protest against the decision, a Reuters witness said. Police sources said they were quickly scattered after police arrived with batons and tear gas. Aboubacar Sylla, a spokesman for the umbrella group of opposition parties, said they were disappointed by the result and called the Supreme Court "incompetent".

We are asking our members to consult with their bases and come back to us on Tuesday," he said. Before the Supreme Court ruling, the opposition threatened to resume mass street protests that turned violent in the run-up to voting, killing at least 50 people. The parliamentary election was the last step in a tortuous return to civilian rule after a 2008 coup. None of the complaints were supported with the necessary proof," said Mamadou Sylla, president of the court. Guinea's main opposition parties had sought to annul the vote, while the RPG had challenged a handful of results.

The confirmed results mean Conde's main rival, Cellou Dalein Diallo, and his UFDG party won 37 seats, while former Prime Minister Sidya Toure's UFR secured 10 seats. Other seats were shared by 12 minor parties, and a period of coalition building is now expected. Damantang Albert Camara, a spokesman for the government and a senior figure in the ruling party, called on all Guineans to put the interests of the country ahead of party affiliations. Large numbers of security forces were deployed across the seaside capital ahead of the announcement of the result on Friday.

Guinea is the world's top bauxite exporter and its vast, largely untapped iron ore reserves have drawn promises of multi-billion-dollar investments by major mining companies. Conde came to power after a 2010 election, but the parliamentary vote had been repeatedly delayed and the political instability surrounding the election dampened some of the enthusiasm shown by investors in recent years. In a country where the president holds much of the real power, the parliamentary poll was widely seen as a warm-up for the presidential vote in 2015, when Conde's five-year term ends.

Source: Reuters

Friday, November 15, 2013

Madagascar: Presidential candidates vow to improve economy if elected

The two candidates who will enter the second round of presidential election, scheduled on Dec. 20 in Madagascar, vowed on Thursday to improve economy in the Indian Ocean island country if they are elected. During a meeting, the two candidates explained one by one their strategy to develop the country if elected to the top post.

Jean Louis Robinson, the candidate supported by former president Marc Ravalomanana, pledged to update the five-year- project of Ravalomanana's "Madagascar Action Plan," open all companies closed during the political crisis since late 2008 and restore trust between international donors and Madagascar. Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who is supported by President of Transion Andry Rajoelina, proposed five solutions for a possible mandate, including a strategy to ensure food security for all Malagasy citizens.

His platform also covers infrastructure, tourism and better cooperation with international donors. According to the latest publication by the Independent National Election Commission (CENIT), Robinson took the lead with 23.98 percent of votes case in the first round of election held on Oct. 25. Rajaonarimampianina followed with 15.17 percent of the tally. According to Madagascar's electoral code, Robinson and Rajaonarimampianina should pass to the run-off election as none of the 33 candidates in the first round had an outright win.

Source: African News

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Madagascar Elections: ESC rejects the request for disqualifying Hery Rajaonarimampianina

The Special Electoral Court (ESC) released its decision on 9 November 2013 relating to a request for disqualification of Hery Rajaonarimampianinam, filed November 4, 2013 by Rakoto Rahasinina Andrianjo Razanamasy, the reasons given by the applicant were that ,the candidate Hery Rajaonarimampianina, use  public property and public powers, the obligation to state officials or political authority or official authority to do propaganda, and dissemination of campaign spot outside the campaign period in Toamasina on October 24, 2013 At 19 o'clock 15, as well as purchases of voting Maroalakely, on 25 October 2013.

The CES is the candidate, who resigned, was no longer an administrative authority and was therefore more likely to hold or use of public powers which consist of legally recognized ways that can use Authority to enable it to fulfill general interest missions. Also, according to the decision of the CES, could not be blamed personally candidate Rajaonarimampianina be perpetrator, and that is the reason why the ETUC has rejected the request.

As for the distribution of campaign spot outside the campaign period that the applicant progressed, it may result in disqualification of a candidate. The same is true of the use of public property which is rather grounds for annulment of the vote possibly obtained by the candidate in question as determined by the CES.
In fact, CES has largely sheltered behind questions of form, without an appraisal of the reality or not of the alleged crime.

For the ETUC, these facts, if true, would constitute criminal offenses that could result in a lawsuit against their direct perpetrators and cancellation of votes obtained by the candidate in the areas concerned. But the legislation does not provide for these cases the disqualification to a second election round.  According to information received by the press, seven judges voted against the disqualification while six others voted for disqualification, others did not vote.

Source: Madagascar Tribune

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mauritania: CENI points out irregularities in election campaigns

Mauritania's National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) has pointed out irregularities in the ongoing legislative and municipal election campaigns. The commission on Monday specifically condemned the use of public resources during campaigns, saying the practice goes against the existing electoral code.

CENI also deplored the use of national symbols such as the president's portrait for personal campaigns by some of the candidates. The commission urged all stakeholders in the electoral process to contribute to easing of political tension to enable it organize free and fair elections. The campaigns for Mauritania's legislative and municipal elections scheduled for Nov. 23 began on Friday. The campaigns had "a slow start" due to a decision by 10 opposition parties to boycott the elections. 

Source: New Europe Online

Monday, November 11, 2013

SADC should take a proactive stance on elections in Madagascar

After successive postponements and delays since a coup d’état in 2009, 33 candidates contested the presidential elections in Madagascar on 25 October 2013. Counting of the votes has not been completed and results are trickling in, with both the Malagasy and the international community waiting for a result that could potentially restore democratic governance in that archipelago. Out of the 20,001 polling stations throughout the country, the Independent National Electoral Commission of the Transition has validated 18,000 votes, representing 80% of the overall total. A Special Electoral Court will declare the definitive outcome 15 days after the publication of the results by the electoral authority.

A clear winner will not emerge out of this poll, and all indications are that a second round is likely to take place on 20 December 2013, alongside parliamentary elections. The Southern African Development Community’s Electoral Observer Mission has declared the presidential elections free, credible and fair. Moreover, the African Union, the European Union Observer Mission and the International Organisation of La Francophonie issued statements on 27 October lauding the elections as free, fair and credible. However, it should be emphasised that Madagascar is not yet out of the woods and the potential for political instability still exists. Granted, Madagascar is not in a state of war or chronic political insecurity. But the political situation demands that SADC monitor developments in that country in a proactive manner.

As an island state, instability in that country does not have immediate regional ramifications. But the country is going through a difficult transition, whose first step is the presidential elections. Even if SADC forced the withdrawal from the presidential race of key protagonists, including Andry Rajoelina, Didier Ratsiraka, Marc Ravolomana, and the wife of the latter, Lalao Ravalomana, there are no guarantees that the loser will accept the Special Court’s final outcome. The second round is more likely to be a contest between two political novices, Robinson Jean Louis sponsored by the Marc Ravolomana camp and Hery Rajaonarimampianina whose candidacy is supported by Andry Rajoelina. Presidential elections by proxy candidates can hardly guarantee the long-term prospects of a fragile and aid-dependent economy where 9 out 10 inhabitants live on less than $2 per day.

Therefore, the challenges in Madagascar are as much economic as they are political, and both will determine whether the country can bottom out of paralysis. As the body that sponsored the suspension of Madagascar from its processes, the role of SADC as lead mediator in the transition toward democratic governance is crucial. In order to succeed in what ought to be the last steps toward constitutional order in Madagascar, the regional body should insist on the support of the international community, including the European Union, which imposed economic sanctions on the country and a travel ban on key individuals in government.

Proactive crisis management and prevention

Going forward, the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security whose mandate is to promote peace and security in the region will remain pivotal. A few steps are needed to ensure a smooth transition to democracy. First, the current chairman of the Troika, President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia, should proactively prioritise the political situation in that country by reinforcing and accelerating dialogue with the signatories to the Roadmap that led to the current elections.

Second, with difficult legislative elections and a second round for the presidential elections slated for 20 December 2013, both the Troika and the chairperson of the SADC Summit, President Joyce Banda, should impress on the Independent National Electoral Commission of the Transition the necessity of respecting the Malagasy Electoral Code and all other relevant protocols that could enhance peace in that country. Third, the chairperson of the Troika should through the offices of the SADC Mediator on Madagascar, former President Joaquim Chissano, insist on the full implementation of the SADC, AU and the International Contact Group on Madagascar (ICG-M) with respect to the holding of the presidential elections. In light of the second presidential round, this is particularly crucial.

Fourth, after the final results for the first round are known, SADC should call for another meeting of the ICG-M to review progress in that country and craft a way forward in order to remove potential obstacles that may derail the 20 December 2013 elections.To conclude, Madagascar is at a major turning point. The presidential elections of 25 October 2013 are cause for optimism. However, the positive evolution that the international community has witnessed in that country demands careful coordination and proactive leadership within the framework of the ICG-M. SADC and the Chair of the Troika cannot afford to drop the ball at a time when the region can effectively show through this example that its crisis management capabilities can be effective when pursued with consistency, fairness and rigour.

Source: Alfredo Tjiurimo Hengari, head of SAIIA

Friday, November 8, 2013

Présidentielle malgache: comment réintégrer les électeurs oubliés?

La Commission électorale malgache a récolté la totalité des résultats et les proclamera ce vendredi 8 novembre. Robinson Jean-Louis et Hery Rajaonarimampianina, candidats d’Andry Rajoelina et de Marc Ravalomanana, s’affronteront au deuxième tour. La question de la fiabilité de la liste électorale divise toujours. La semaine dernière, le gouvernement et la Cénit avaient convenu qu’il n’y aurait pas de retouche à cette liste, malgré les nombreuses réclamations.

Le Conseil des ministres dirigé par Andry Rajoelina demande finalement l’intégration des personnes omises. La Commission électorale n’a toujours pas décidé quelles mesures seront prises. Lors du premier tour, le 25 octobre, de nombreux électeurs n’ont pas pu voter comme ils le souhaitaient. Leurs noms n’apparaissaient pas sur la liste, alors qu’ils avaient été recensés par des agents. Pour la Cénit, il s’agit d’abord de savoir combien de personnes sont concernées. Et pour cela, elle doit consulter les carnets de recensement.

 Vers une liste additive

L'assemblée générale a déjà décidé de ramasser les carnets pour déterminer combien sont les électeurs qui sont omis de la liste électorale aujourd'hui , explique Béatrice Atallah, présidente de la Cenit.

 Madagascar vote sous l'oeil attentif de la communauté internationale

En fonction du résultat de cette opération, la Cenit pourrait décider certains aménagements, afin de permettre à ces électeurs de voter au second tour. Soit les électeurs qui rencontraient des erreurs matérielles rentrent d'office sur la liste électorale, ce sera alors une liste additive. Soit on amène les dossiers des électeurs omis auprès du tribunal, parce que c'est le tribunal de première instance qui est compétent pour statuer sur les électeurs omis, selon la règle 31 du code électoral.

L’assemblée générale de la Commission électorale devrait trancher dans les jours à venir. Si le tribunal n’est pas saisi, il pourrait donc y avoir une liste additive. La modification de la liste électorale initiale est interdite par la loi.

Source: RFI

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Madagascar: Two ex-presidents rally behind bid to cancel election results

Two former presidents of Madagascar, Didier Ratsiraka and Albert Zafy, are rallying behind a bid by some candidates to cancel results of the first round of presidential election held on Oct. 25. The candidates demanding the scrapping of the results include Voninahitsy Jean Eugene, who won 2.13 percent; Lahiniriko Jean, who scored 0.87 percent; Alain Tehindrazanarivelo, who secured 0. 57 percent; and Noelson William, took 0.31 percent.

They are calling on other candidates with less than 10 percent of the tally to join them in pressing for the cancellation of the election results, according the local daily newspaper l'Midi.  Candidate Randriamampionona Joseph Martin, who won 2.34 percent, attended a meeting held in Madagascar's capital Antananarivo Tuesday, while four other candidates sent representatives like former presidents Ratsiraka and Zafy.

Eugene said their goal is to the reparation of irregularities they noted during the elections. The union of candidates vowed to meet twice a week to persist in their demand. The two leading candidates accept the results and are preparing for the a run-off set for Dec. 20.  Jean Louis Robinson, supported by former president Marc Ravalomanana, took the lead with his 21.44 percent of votes. Hery Rajaonarimampianina turned out the second with 15.68 percent of votes. His supporter, Transitional President Andry Rajoelina, has already expressed readiness to accept the results.

The international community and its 800 international observers hailed the peaceful vote during the first round.  The electoral commission headed by Atallah Beatrice has expressed optimism and promised to publish full results by Friday.  The first round involves 33 candidates and more than 7.8 million voters across 20,001 polling stations in the Indian Ocean island country. According to law, the Special Electoral Court will have until Nov. 20 to judge over all disputes before announcing the final results.

Source: Shanghai Daily

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Madagascar: Cancellation of first round presidential election

Twelve applications were brought before the Special Electoral Court (CES), three of which require the cancellation of the first round of the presidential election on October 25. "We have made an application for annulment of the first round of presidential elections held on 25 October, due to total disruption of the election ... I prefer to be treated of bad loser rather than condone irregularities," said , Monja Roindefo, candidate for the highest office in Madagascar.

For the national leader of the national movement for the independence of Mada¬gascar (Monima), Monja Roindefo, "the principles of neutrality, transparency and credibility" of the elections have not been met.  Same sound bell on the side of Pierrot Rajaonarivelo, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and representative of the Movement for the democracy in Madagascar (MDM) requesting according to a member of his party, the cancellation of results from all polling stations, as well as a comparison of the results.

The collective of the presidential candidates has also filed an action for annulment believing that the election of October 25, 2013 is vitiated by irregularities, according to the newspaper L'Express of Madagascar.  As a reminder, the special electoral court will officially proclaim the results of the first round of Madagascar presidential election around November 23, 2013 so that CENIT (independent National Electoral Commission's Transition) should announce this Friday, November 8 the final results.

Source: Indian Ocean Times

Friday, November 1, 2013

Proxy runoff looms in Madagascar presidential vote

The runoff due in December is likely to be contested by two men who are supported by a former president and the man who ousted him in a coup. Whichever camp wins, it looks like a return of familiar faces is assured. With about half the votes cast in the election of 25 October 2013 now counted, it is clear which two of the original 33 candidates will take part in a runoff in early December: Jean Louis Robinson, currently leading with some 28 percent, and Hery Rajaonarimampianina with just under 15 percent. Both owe much of their success to two men who have been dominant figures in Madagascan politics for many years.
Robinson was the minister for health and sports under former president Marc Ravolamana who was ousted in a coup four years ago. Since then Ravolamanana has lived in exile in South Africa. He was banned from running in this election and chose to back Robinson instead. The man who replaced him, coup leader and current interim president, Andry Rajoelina, was also banned from running again. He came out in support of his former finance minister, Hery Rajaonarimampianina. This means that, instead of making the way free for a new face at the top, there will instead be a duel between two proxy candidates. The election is not about issues, says lawyer and civil rights activist Sahondra Rabenarivo. The whole debate is overshadowed by the duel between the two camps.

Fear of another coup

Marcus Schneider from the German think tank, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, visited a pre-election rally held by Jean Louis Robinson. He said that his first act after being elected would be to make the wife of deposed president Ravolamanana his prime minister,Schneider told DW. His second act would be to bring back Ravolamamana himself from exile. That is exactly what many of the islanders fear. Ravolamanana has the reputation of bearing grudges and many people are extremely nervous about his possible return. We are afraid," Sahondra Rabenarivo told DW. Before he was deposed, he owned a factory for dairy products worth millions. It was plundered and destroyed. The first thing he will do is demand its restoration.
The coup against Ravolamanana was organized by two thirds of the political class and a large section of the military. They also fear revenge in the event of a Robinson victory and also the loss of their economic and political privileges, says Marcus Schneider. "If Robinson wins, there will be the danger of another coup," Schneider said. The island's history shows that this scenario should be taken seriously. Madagascar has plunged into chaos many times following elections. After the presidential poll in 2002, civil war-like conditions prevailed for several months.
Nevertheless, many Madagascans are prepared to back Robinson (and with him Ravolamamana) believing this will improve their living standards. More than 90 percent of the population live in poverty. While in power, Ravolamamana followed a classic neo-liberal course, was regarded as pro-US and pro-China and followed the recommendations of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. "If Jean Louis Robinson comes to power, we will have the donors on our side again," hopes Sahondra Rabenarivo.

Memories of Moscow

If Hery Rajaonarimampianina emerges as the victor in the December run-off, no major changes should be expected as he has nailed his colors to the mast of interim president Andry Rajoelina. Rajaonarimampianina plans to make Rajoelina prime minister, prompting the Madagascan press to speak of a Russian scenario. The line-up does indeed bear a strong similarity to the situation in Moscow in 2008 when Vladimir Putin backed Dimitri Medvedev as president in order to consolidate his own influence. On the economic front, Rajoelina favors a strong role for the state. He says the government should build schools, hospitals and roads but he has not revealed where the money for this is to come from.
Madagascar is the winner

The final results of the first round of voting are due on 8 November. If the present trend is confirmed, then Hery Rajaonarimampianina could well go on to win the runoff. Although he garnered only half as many votes as his main rival Robinson in the first round, the majority of the other 31 candidates favor his agenda and will do their best to influence the electorate accordingly. "What we are all hoping for is a clear result, Sahondra Rabenarivo said. That would make it more likely that the loser would accept defeat. No matter who comes out in front in the runoff, Madagascar will be the winner," says Marcus Schneider. The country would have an internationally recognized government and sanctions imposed more than four years ago would be lifted. All in all, Marcus Schneider thinks there are good reasons to be optimistic. "If they don't make a complete mess of things now, then an economic upswing won't be long in coming.

 Source: Deutsche Welle