Maputo — Mozambique's National Elections Commission (CNE) has accepted candidates from ten political parties and five independent citizens' groups for participation in the municipal elections scheduled for 20 November.
The nominations from a further three parties and groups were still being checked as of 17.00 on Friday, the last day for submitting nomination papers.
Two parties - the ruling Frelimo Party and the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) - are contesting the mayoral and municipal assembly elections in all 53 municipalities.
According to CNE spokesperson Joao Beirao, some irregularities were found in the nomination papers from both parties. But since they had delivered the paperwork in good time (the MDM on Tuesday and Frelimo on Wednesday), they were both able to correct the irregularities to the CNE's satisfaction.
The other parties whose candidates have been provisionally accepted are:
PDD (Party of Peace, Development and Democracy), led by Raul Domingos, once the number two figure in the former rebel movement Renamo;
PARENA (National Reconciliation Party);
MPD (Patriotic Movement for Democracy);
PAHUMO (Humanitarian Party of Mozambique);
Os Verdes (The Greens);
PE (Ecologist Party);
PT (Labour Party);
PPLM (Popular Liberal Party).
None of these minor parties have any representation in parliament. Only the PDD is represented at municipal level, with one seat in the Beira municipal assembly.
Two established citizens' groups delivered nominations, namely:
JPC (Together for the City), which holds two seats in the Maputo municipal assembly;
ANATURMA (Association of Natives and Friends of Manhica), which has one seat in the Manhica municipal assembly, in Maputo province.
The new groups running candidates are:
Astrogaza (Association of Gaza Transport Operators), standing candidates in the Gaza provincial capital, Xai-Xai;
UIUIPI - an artisans' cooperative, running in the northern city of Pemba;
SINFORTECNICA - Association of Young Disabled Technical Staff, running in Maputo.
The three parties and groups whose nomination papers were being checked as the evening wore on are:
PIMO (Independent Party of Mozambique), a thinly disguised Islamic party, which holds one seat in the Beira Municipal Assembly;
ALIMO (Independent Alliance of Mozambique - a breakaway from PIMO);
ASSEMONA (Association for Moral and Civic Education in the Exploitation of Mineral Resources). This association is led by Mario Albino, once a Renamo delegate in the northern province of Nampula, who defected to become the MDM delegate in the province. He fell out with the MDM leadership and set up his own association, announcing that he intended to run candidates in all the Nampula municipalities.
Beirao stressed to AIM that the acceptance of the candidates of these parties and groups is so far only provisional. The CNE must now go through the documents presented by the candidates for a detailed verification that they meet the legal requirements.
In particular, the CNE must check the validity of the supporting signatures presented by all the mayoral candidates. Each candidate for mayor must be supported by signatures from at least one per cent of the registered voters in the municipality.
So there are thousands of sheets of names, signatures and voter card numbers that must be checked against the data base resulting from the voter registration exercise undertaken from May to July. The checks on names and numbers will reveal whether the signatures are of genuine voters, whether there is any duplication, and whether any voters have tried to support more than one candidate.
The CNE must then, between 24 September and 3 October, publish a list of candidates accepted and rejected. Parties and groups have until 13 October to appeal against CNE decisions, and the definitive list of candidates must be published by 17 October.