Maputo — Mozambique's National Elections Commission (CNE) has proposed a budget of 900 million meticais (about 13.3 million US dollars, at current exchange rates), to cover the requirements of both the 2018 municipal elections and the 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, after the first meeting of the CNE this year, the Commission's spokesperson, Paulo Cuinica, said the CNE has also proposed a date for the municipal elections. But since that date still has to be accepted by the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), Cuinica did not feel at liberty to disclose it.
“What we did today was approve, by consensus, the date which will be submitted to the Council of Ministers today”, he said.
The electoral law states that the municipal elections must be held by no later than the first fortnight of October 2018, and that the Council of Ministers must announce the date at least 18 months in advance.
Cuinica said the CNE approved its plan of activities for the rest of this year. This will focus on training staff for the municipal elections, and setting up the provincial and district elections commissions, which must begin within 60 days of the announcement of the election date.
These are extraordinarily large and expensive bodies: each of the provincial, city and district commissions has 15 members. Six of these are appointed by the political parties represented in parliament: three by the ruling Frelimo Party, two by the rebel movement Renamo, and one by the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM). The other nine members are appointed by civil society bodies.
The municipal elections must be preceded by voter registration. But the registration period can only be announced after the election date is confirmed. Estimates of the number of voters to be registered will depend on the population projections made by the National Statistics Institute (INE), based on the 2007 population census.
The last municipal elections, held in 2013, were a battle between Frelimo and the MDM, since Renamo boycotted them. But this time Renamo has promised to participate. As in previous years, a number of minor parties are likely to emerge from obscurity and compete - but they have little or no chance of winning any seats in the municipal assemblies.