Maputo, 1 Sep (AIM) – Democratic Revolution (RD), a newly formed political party, set up by dissidents from Mozambique’s main opposition force, Renamo, on Thursday attempted to submit nomination papers for the municipal elections scheduled for 11 October – but the National Elections Commission (CNE) rejected them, this time because they were incomplete.
The RD had initially tried to submit its paperwork on 11 August, which the CNE said was the deadline for receiving nomination papers. Since the RD missed the deadline of 15.00 on 11 August, the CNE working group set up to receive nomination papers rejected them out of hand.
The RD then appealed to the Constitutional Council, the country’s highest body in matters of constitutional and electoral law. The Council found that the CNE had committed two violations of the electoral legislation.
First, it had no power to delegate acceptance or rejection of candidates to a working group: it was only the full CNE, meeting in plenary session, which could take that decision.
Second, the 11 August deadline did not apply to the RD. This was because, in an earlier dispute, the Council had ordered the RD to change its symbol, and gave it ten days to do so. Taking this into account, the deadline for the RD to deliver its nomination papers should have been 14 August.
The Council overturned the CNE’s decision and gave it 48 hours to receive the RD nomination papers, which would then be accepted or rejected by the CNE plenary.
The Council’s ruling was made public on Wednesday, and on Thursday the RD submitted its papers.
On Thursday afternoon, the CNE returned the nomination papers because they were incomplete. Some of the documents had not been recognized by a notary (a procedure supposed to guarantee authenticity), and some of the RD candidates did not submit criminal record certificates.
The RD election agent, Joao Jaisse, cited in Friday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”, blamed the registry and notarial offices.
“When we came to Maputo, the registry office claimed they had no paper, and no computer system to allow them to issue these documents for us”, said Jaisse. “We told the authorities, but the problem persists”.
The CNE checked the RD’s documents, and urged the party to complete them. Otherwise, they could not be accepted.
The RD wants to stand candidates in 10 of the 65 municipalities, including Maputo, Matola and Nampula.
All the other parties and groups contesting the elections provided the complete documentation required, including criminal record certificates.