8 February 2013

Mozambique: Assembly Delivers Electoral Laws to Guebuza

Maputo — The Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on Friday delivered to President Armando Guebuza, for his promulgation, the five electoral laws, passed by the Assembly in December.

The spokesperson for the parliamentary group of the ruling Frelimo Party, Edmundo Galiza-Matos, confirmed to AIM that the laws had been sent to Guebuza. After he has promulgated them, they will be published in the official gazette, the “Boletim da Republica”.

The reason for the delay in sending the laws to Guebuza is that, before any legislation is sent to the President, it is checked for errors by the Assembly’s Legislation Department (consisting of full time Assembly staff), and by the deputies who sit on the Parliamentary Commission on Constitutional and Legal Affairs.

These bodies cannot make any changes of substance in the laws passed by the Assembly plenary, but they should correct any inconsistencies and contradictions (over matters such as dates), check spelling and grammar, and ensure that articles and paragraphs are numbered correctly.

The delay led to conspiracy theories in some of the Mozambican press, and various blogs and Facebook pages. Here it was suggested that Guebuza was deliberately sitting on the laws, refusing to promulgate them, in order to make it impossible to hold municipal elections this year and general elections in 2014.

But the President could not block legislation that he had not even received. Since the laws are essentially the work of the Frelimo majority in the Assembly, there is no reason to imagine that Guebuza will not promulgate them as soon as he can.

The five laws are on the National Elections Commission (CNE), on voter registration, on procedures for presidential and parliamentary elections, on municipal elections, and on elections for provincial assemblies. There is a great deal of overlap between the last three laws.

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