131122E – ELECTIONS 2023: CNE ADMITS THAT IT MAY POSTPONE VOTER REGISTRATION
Maputo, 03 Nov (AIM) – The Chairperson of the National Elections Commission (CNE), Carlos Matsinhe, admits that voter registration may be postponed due to shortage of funds, but guarantees that the local elections will not be compromised.
Municipal elections are scheduled to take place on 11 October 2023, while registration was to start on 20 February and end on 5 April.
The CNE has been struggling to mobilize financial resources to run the elections. In fact, sources familiar with the process are reported as saying that the late signing of the contract with the supplier of voter registration materials was going to compromise the process.
This Thursday, Matsinhe assured that municipal elections will not be delayed although he admitted that it may be forced to make adjustments of voter registration dates.
‘The government or parliament may need to reschedule the voter registration, which is due for February, and may start later. But the elections cannot be postponed because we have to follow the timetable already established and we have enough time for that,’ he said cited in the independent daily online “O Pais”.
Matsinhe was speaking on the sidelines of a conference on experience sharing on election financing and sustainability, which brings together representatives of electoral commissions from the southern Africa region.
While the lack of money compromises at least the voter registration additional costs have arisen with the creation of 12 new municipalities. This will require a readjustment of the budget planned for the 2023 municipal elections. Meanwhile, the CNE says it is still assessing how much it will need to add to the already established budget.
‘It is necessary to plan. First, assess what this means in terms of materials and human resources. Although the decision has already been taken by the government, it up to parliament to approve as this the law. And while that happens, the electoral bodies should prepare themselves so that we can say what this implies in terms of resources’.
In October the CNE announced that it had available three billion meticais (about 47.1 million US dollars at current exchange rate) to cover all the expenses inherent to the electoral process for the current year.
CNE’ s initial estimate is that the municipal elections will cost 9.7 billion meticais (about 151 million US dollars, at the current exchange rate). Of this sum, 3.2 billion meticais will be spent this year on preparations, and the rest in 2023, including the voting itself and the proclamation of results.
The sum is intended for the acquisition of material for pilot voter registration and full voter registration, which is scheduled to start on 20 February and end on 5 April 2023. Other expenses include installation of CNE’s support bodies in all the provinces.
But the creation of 12 additional municipalities will certainly complicate the matters because the CNE was already struggling to mobilise funds to train staff who will run the process and also to procure the materials to carry voter registrations and the subsequent steps.
(AIM / AIMENG)