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THE INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING MISSION STATEMENT AND PRELIMINARY CONCLUSIONS OF MOZAMBIQUE ELECTIONS 2019

18.10.2019
The Mozambican general elections were held on the 15th of October 2019 to elect the president, the national unicameral parliament (Assembly of the Republic) and members of the provincial assembly. These elections are held every five years.
The President of the Republic is elected by absolute majority vote. Presidential candidate needs a majority of valid votes casted to be elected. In the event that no candidate has been able to obtain more than 50% of the votes, a second round of elections is required to be held with the two strongest candidates going head to head.

The assembly of the Republic consists of 250 members, 248 of which are elected by popular vote using a system of party-list proportional representation and 2 members are elected in single-member constituencies.

Members of the provincial assembly are elected through a closed-list proportional representation system of which there are a total of 794 across the country.

The total number of eligible voters on the voters roll numbered 12,945,921 with 215,142 of them residing abroad and 20,000 polling station were designated to facilitate the voting process.

The voting took place from 7.00 until 18.00. Eligible voters who arrived at the polling stations before 18:00 were supposed to be allowed to vote past 18:00 until they have been able to successfully cast their ballots, after which point the polling stations must be closed. The maximum amount of voters registered at each polling station is 800. Voters should present their IDs to the commission members (passport, drivers licence, student ID).

 

Presidential candidates, security personnel, disabled, pregnant, elderly and medical workers have the right for priority voting.

The following categories are allowed to vote at the polling stations if they are not on the voters roll: electoral commission members, party agents (delegates), police staff, national observers, journalists and judiciary system workers.

A voter is required to show their ID and hands (to check for voting marks). After verification of the voter’s identity, the voter is given the ballot papers, who should then cast their vote at the voting booth, before finally receiving a mark on the right index finger.

The elections are managed by the National Electoral Commission (CNE) which consists of 17 members (5 representatives of FRELIMO, 4 representatives of RENAMO, 1 representative of MDM and 7 representatives of civil society organizations).

Legal regulations

The sources which stipulate the regulation of the electoral process are extensive and include the following legislative instruments:

  • Constitution of the Republic of Mozambique – 2004
  • Electoral Act – 2019 amendment
  • Electoral Commission Act – 2014 amendment

 

Monitoring

According to the Mozambican legislation that is currently in effect, representatives of international non-profit organizations and representatives of foreign governments (not holding Mozambican citizenship) that are eligible to apply for accreditation to participate as international observers.

Also the representatives of local civil society organizations and citizens Mozambique can be accredited as national observers.

 

Information about the mission of observers AFRIC

AFRIC has successfully accredited 62 observers from 23 countries (Burkina Faso, Japan, Serbia, Russia, Germany, India, Benin, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Jamaica, Madagascar,

 

Ivory Coast, Israel, Hungary, Cameroon, Italy, Belarus, Estonia, Mongolia, the Republic of South Africa, Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal).

The observers visited more than 200 PSCs throughout the country across all the 10 provinces and the capital city of Maputo including the specific polling station that was attended by President Filipe Nyusi where we witnessed him casting his vote.

AFRIC observers have gained a considerable amount of experience in monitoring  national elections and have already made invaluable contributions to the role of international observation in African. The observation missions undertaken across the continent over the last 14 months include Madagascar, DRC, Zimbabwe and the Republic of South Africa.

Our observers are building a strong reputation for acting out their duties with impartially and in full compliance with the legislation of the countries we have undertaken missions. Observers were guided by the principles of non-interference in the electoral process of sovereign states respecting all candidates and parties in the formation of elected institutions preserving the constitutional right to vote in open elections and the secrecy of the vote.

Observers form their opinion on the legality and legitimacy of the electoral process based on a number of fundamental features of a fair campaign with equal opportunities for participants, as reflected in their respective constitution and electoral laws.

 

Polling day

In general, the elections were well organized with the interaction between election commission members and with the observers being constructive and friendly.

Election officials demonstrated a high level of professionalism. At the same time, the observation did reveal procedural irregularities during voting and vote counting. The following are a number of such observed during the mission:

 

  1. In a lot of cases observers noted long queues at the polling stations, where the average time needed to vote was around 3-4 hours. This led to a buildup of tensions and conflicts with electoral commission members, resulting in some instances of some voters being

 

turned away from casting their votes. At the same time, observers emphasize that police present at polling stations demonstrated professionalism while settling the conflicts.

  1. In some cases the voters could not vote as their names were not found on the voters rolls of the polling stations where they were
  2. At some polling stations extra ballot papers were found during the sorting and counting process and electoral commission members did not know what actions to take in those instances.

 

Recommendations

Despite the high level at which elections were conducted, AFRIC observers bring several recommendations to the attention of CNE:

  1. In order to avoid queues at the polling stations it is recommended to add one of the following amendments to the electoral legislation: increase the timing for voting or to reduce the number of voters registered per polling
  2. In order to ensure the right to vote for the voters, whose name for any reason is not found on the voters roll at the polling station where they are registered, it is recommended to introduce the detailed description of the legal procedure regarding inclusion the voters into the voters rolls on the election day if they provide all the necessary
  3. It is recommended that CNE pays special attention to allocating the necessary resources for trainings to members of electoral commissions at all the levels and to also provide a detailed algorithm for the
  4. It is recommended to introduce modern digital technologies, and to increase the role of automated digital mechanisms (such as software for processing the counting and result collection processes).
  5. Information about the electoral process and instructions for electoral commission members and observers is essential for a transparent and effective electoral process. AFRIC observers recommend that CNE ensures publication of relevant information regarding the electoral process on the CNE website in compliance with the legislation of the Republic of Mozambique (polling stations information with addresses, instructions and other materials).

 

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In conclusion, it should be mentioned that the elections were organized in compliance with the legislation of the Republic of Mozambique and match the international standards for democratic elections. It is also important to mention that despite tensions and conflict episodes, the national authorities were able to provide the necessary security for the  voting process and its participants (citizens, commission members, political party delegates and observers).

Despite minor violations of the electoral law, the electoral campaign process was generally peaceful and transparent.

Minor violations of the electoral law by polling station staff on election day could not sufficiently affect the results of the elections.

The counting process was effective and credible. There were minor incidents reported during counting, as it was mentioned above. Yet these were isolated cases that could not affect the results.

AFRIC expresses gratitude to the authorities of the Republic of Mozambique for their assistance and support. The observers are also grateful to CNE, to civil society organizations and the international community representatives for their cooperation and, once again, to the security authorities of Mozambique and especially the Police of the Republic of Mozambique for their decisive

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