Maputo — Mozambique's National Elections Commission (CNE) has refused to allow parties who submitted their paperwork beyond the deadline to run in the parliamentary elections scheduled for 15 October.
Parties were given a full month - from 2 July to 1 August - to submit the nomination papers for their parliamentary candidates. 26 parties managed to meet the deadline, but 10 did not. Some arrived after the deadline of 15.30 on 1 August, and some on the following day.
Last Friday the ten latecomers submitted a petition to the CNE requesting that the CNE show tolerance and extend the deadline. They met with CNE members on Tuesday, but were politely told there could be no extension. Those who submitted their nomination late would not be on the ballot paper.
CNE member Rodrigues Timba told the independent newssheet "Mediafax" that the CNE "did not even look at their papers to see if they were in line with the law, because we already knew they were delivered beyond the deadline".
The Constitutional Council, Mozambique's highest body in matters of constitutional and electoral law, has, in past elections, criticised the CNE for bending legal deadlines, and the CNE seems determined that this time the law will be obeyed to the letter.
The ten parties who missed the deadline are:
1. The United Congress of Democrats (CDU). The founder of this party, Antonio Palange, recently rejoined Frelimo, the party of which he was a member during and immediately after the independence war.
2. Humanitarian Party of Mozambique (PAHUMO). Won 0.13 per cent of the vote in 2014. Its leader, Filomena Maturupa, won a seat in the Nampula Municipal Assembly in 2013, but lost it in the next municipal elections in 2018.
3. Democratic Reconciliation Party (PAREDE). Did not stand in the last parliamentary elections in 2014.
4. Party for the Development of Mozambique (PDM). Founded in the northern province of Niassa by a veteran of the national liberation struggle, Mariano Ussene. Little more is known about it, and it has never tried to stand in elections before.
5. Democratic Alliance Coalition (CAD). A grouping of six small parties which tried, unsuccessfully, to run the former chairperson of the Human Rights League (LDH), Alice Mabota, as its presidential candidate.
6. Popular Democratic Party (PPD). Came last in the 2014 elections with the grand total of 158 votes, which rounds down to 0.0 per cent.
7. Movement for the Reconciliation of Mozambique (MRM), Previously unknown.
8. Party for Freedom and Democracy (PLD). Won 0.1 per cent of the vote in 2014.
9. Independent Alliance of Mozambique (ALIMO). This party was a member of the Renamo-Electoral Union coalition. This gave it a seat in parliament in 1999, which it lost when Renamo dissolved the coalition a decade later. Won 0.12 per cent of the vote in 2014.
10. Mozambique National Union (UNAMO). Did not stand in 2014.
These groups are tiny, with few members and few votes. Most of them do not have offices, publications or even websites. They emerge once every five years in an attempt to obtain some of the money that the Mozambican state generously allocates to parliamentary election campaigns.
It might have been thought wise for small parties to start more modestly by running for the provincial assemblies. But most of the extra-parliamentary parties have shown no interest in these assemblies.
Only the three established parties - the ruling Frelimo Party, the former rebel movement Renamo, and the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) - are standing for seats in all ten provincial assemblies.
Four minor parties are standing in Inhambane, three in Maputo province, and one each in Cabo Delgado and Sofala. In the other six provinces only Frelimo, Renamo and the MDM will be on the provincial assembly ballot paper.