Mozambique: Parties Propose Candidates for Constitutional Council

Maputo — The former director of the Maputo branch of the Criminal Investigation Police (PIC), Antonio Frangoulis, seems almost certain to become a member of the Constitutional Council, Mozambique's highest body in matters of constitutional and electoral law.

The Council has seven members - a chairperson appointed by the President of the Republic, a member appointed by the Higher Council of the Judicial Magistracy (CSMJ), the regulatory body for judges, and five others chosen by the political parties represented in the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, in proportion to the number of seats they hold.

This means that the ruling Frelimo Party chooses three Constitutional Council members and the main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, appoints two. The third party in the Assembly, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) only has 17 members in its parliamentary group, which is not enough to give it the right to appoint a Council member.

Frangoulis shot to fame as one of the police officers responsible for arresting and bringing to trial the six men who assassinated Mozambique's foremost investigative journalist, Carlos Cardoso, in November 2000.

He won a seat in the Assembly on the Frelimo ticket in the general elections of 2004. Disillusioned with Frelimo, he joined the MDM in 2014. He was an MDM parliamentary candidate that year but failed in his bid for elections. In mid-2018, he left the MDM and accused the Party of operating in an "undemocratic" manner.

Now his sympathies appear to have switched to Renamo, since he accepted an invitation from Renamo to be one of its candidates for the Constitutional Council (it is not yet clear, however, whether he has actually joined Renamo). He is also a law lecturer at Maputo's Eduardo Mondlane University.

Renamo's second choice for the Council is the jurist Albino Nhacassa, who is an advisor to the second deputy president of the Assembly, Younusse Amade, and a member of the Higher Council of the Public Prosecutor's Office.

Frelimo has opted to re-appoint two sitting members of the Council for a further term of office. They are the jurists Domingos Cintura and Mateus Saize, who were first appointed to the Council in 2009 and 2014 respectively.

Frelimo's third choice is Filimao Suaze, who is a member of the Higher Council of the Administrative Judicial Magistracy, and the spokesperson for Matola Municipal Council. He will replace Joao Ubisse Guenha, who has been unable to attend the Council since 2014 because of poor health.

The assembly must also ratify Lucia Ribeiro as the new chairperson of the Constitutional Council. She has been a judge on the Council since 2003, and Nyusi chose her to replace Hermegildo Gamito, who resigned from the Council in June. He gave his advanced age (he is 75) as his reason for stepping down.

The most pressing task of the Council in the coming months will be to deal with appeals from political parties concerning alleged electoral offences, and the validation and proclamation of the results from the presidential, parliamentary and provincial elections scheduled for 15 October.

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