Monday, August 25, 2014

Mozambican Political Parties Discuss Election Code Of Conduct With CNE

The chairperson of Mozambique's National Elections Commission (CNE), Abdul Carimo, has called on all those involved in the general election scheduled for Oct 15, including the police, to make every effort to ensure that all citizens can participate freely in the election, as well as in the official election campaign, due to begin on Aug 31.

Stressing that all Mozambicans should work to ensure that the elections were free, fair, transparent and orderly, he told a gathering of representatives of the political parties whihc will compete in the elections here Wednesday: "We want this year's elections to be a moment of festivity, of exaltation of our Mozambican identity and of our young democracy."

Carimo was particularly concerned to discuss with the parties the role of their polling station monitors, of the polling station staff and of the police. For all these groups, the CNE has drawn up codes of conduct, based on the electoral law.

Carimo made it clear that the political party representatives had the right to lodge complaints, protests and appeals at all stages of the voting and vote-counting, starting at the polling station in the area where they are accredited.

The provincial, district and city elections commissions must issue credentials for the parties' polling station monitors up to three days prior to voting day.

The monitors can be appointed for a polling station different from one where they registered as voters, as long as it is in the same geographical voter registration area.

In order to be accredited as a monitor, any citizen must prove that he or she is a registered voter. This is normally through presentation of a voter card. In the event that the voter card has been mislaid, it can be replaced by a registration certificate issued by the CNE's executive body, the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE).

The monitors have the right to inspect all stages of the voting and the counting, including verifying the polling booths and the ballot boxes before voting begins, requesting explanations from the polling station staff, and presenting protests at anything they regard as improper.

A major change in the electoral legislation is that no polling station monitor can be arrested, even if caught in the act of committing a crime, until after the count at the polling station has concluded. This change was included after arbitrary detentions of monitors from the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) during the municipal elections held last November.

Despite the codes of conduct, opposition parties remain sceptical about the role of the police, who they accuse of acting at the behest of the ruling Frelimo Party.

The election agent of the former rebel movement, Renamo, Andre Magibire, said there was little new in the codes of conduct. According to Thursday's issue of the independent newssheet Mediafax, he pointed out that similar provisions had been included in previous codes of conduct and had been ignored by the police.

Carimo said the police had been trained in the electoral legislation so that they would respect the norms, and perform their duties correctly. "That's why I ask you to be optimistic," he told the parties. "You must understand that the success of these elections depends on the involvement of all of us, including the political parties

Source: Agência de Informação de Moçambique

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