via Constitutional council validates election results 31 December 2014
The Constitutional Council, Mozambique’s highest body in matters of constitutional and electoral law, on Tuesday validated the results of the 15 October general elections, declaring the candidate of the ruling Frelimo Party, former defence minister Filipe Nyusi, as president elect, with 57 per cent of the vote.
The Council declared that Frelimo had also won the parliamentary election and will have an overall majority of 38 in the new parliament – much less than the overall majority of 132 which it enjoys in the outgoing parliament.
In both elections, the runner-up was the former rebel movement Renamo. Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama took 36.6 per cent of the presidential vote, while Renamo won slightly under a third of the parliamentary vote, securing 89 seats.
The full figures announced by the Constitutional Council were as follows:
Total registered electorate: 10,964,377
No. who voted: 5,376,329
Turnout: 49.03 per cent
No. of valid votes: 4,918,743 (91.49 per cent)
Blank ballots: 300,412 (5.59 per cent)
Invalid votes: 157,174 (2.93 per cent)
Filipe Nyusi (Frelimo) 2,803,536 (57.00 per cent)
Afonso Dhlakama (Renamo) 1,800,448 (36.60 per cent)
Daviz Simango (MDM) 314,759 (6.40 per cent)
No. who voted 5,242,899
Turnout: 47.82 per cent
No. of valid votes: 4,552,383 (86.83 per cent)
Blank ballots: 445,371 (8.49 per cent)
Invalid votes 245,145 (4.68 per cent)
Frelimo 2,534,845 (55.68 per cent – 144 seats)
Renamo 1,499,832 (32.95 per cent – 89 seats)
MDM 385,683 (8.40 per cent – 17 seats)
The remaining 2.97 per cent of the parliamentary vote was scattered around 27 minor parties, none of whom had the slightest chance of winning a seat.
These percentages are much the same as those announced by the National Elections Commission (CNE) on 30 October – but the absolute figures for the votes are not. The two sets of figures, from the CNE and from the Constitutional Council, vary by several tens of thousands for both elections.
Reading out the Council’s ruling, its chairperson, Hermenegildo Gamito, said that the Council had carefully rechecked all the figures. The result is that there are 42,664 extra presidential votes in the Council’s figures – but 74,037 fewer parliamentary votes.
Gamito did not explain these discrepancies in detail, but they seem connected with mistakes made by the provincial elections commissions (CPE) when tabulating the votes from the districts. The Council’s ruling condemned the existence of two parallel provincial counts – one done by the provincial elections commissions and the other by the provincial branches of the executive electoral body, the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE).
Gamito said the provincial tabulation “took on atypical characteristics, from the legal point of view, and as a result there were two tabulations of the provincial results. The tabulation that was the technical responsibility of STAE had mathematical mistakes corrected, and that of the CPE did not have the corrections”.
The Council criticized the CNE for not informing the CPEs when it detected mathematical mistakes. It pointed out that, under the law, it is the results published by the CPEs which form the basis of the general count, and that the CNE had no business trying to rescue polling station results sheets, which the CPEs, for whatever reason, had been unable to process.
The changes made by the Council resulted in a very slight drop in Nyusi’s and Dhlakama’s share of the presidential vote, and an increase in Simango’s share (up from 6.36 to 6.40 percent).
The changes in the parliamentary result raised Renamo’s vote by almost 0.5 per cent, and cut Frelimo’s vote by about 0.3 per cent, but this does not affect the distribution of seats.
Unlike all its other decisions this year, the Council was divided on whether to validate the results. Six of the seven judges were in favour, and declared that “in general” the elections took place in line with the established legal framework. But the seventh, Manuel Franque, appointed to the Council by the Renamo parliamentary group, disagreed.
In his dissenting opinion Franque declared that, in a state ruled by law, if there is to be total transparency in elections, and if the results are to express the real will of the electorate, it was important that “no irregularities remain to be corrected, and no illicit acts remain unpunished”.
Franque argued that the way the CNE had handled the elections, particularly the count and tabulation, “raises doubt about the veracity of the results, since so many irregularities have been neither corrected nor explained”.
This included polling station results sheets which had gone missing or had been impossible to process. “This situation has happened in all elections in our country”, said Franque, “and the CNE has never bothered to correct it, or to prevent it from happening”.
According to STAE, the vast majority of results sheets (over 98 per cent) were processed. The worst problem was in Tete province, and cannot be blamed on the CNE. Renamo mobs sabotaged 44 polling stations in Tsangano district and 26 in the neighbouring district of Macanga, in some cases setting them ablaze. No votes could be rescued from those stations.
Franque also referred to reports that ballot papers marked in advance had been discovered “and neither the CNE nor any other authority has thought it worth explaining this phenomenon and its impact on the election results”.
Although Franque did not call for annulling the elections, he said that in his view they had been “neither fair nor transparent”.