Mozambique: MDM Threatens to Boycott Parliament

Maputo — Quelimane (Mozambique), 23 Oct (AIM) - Mozambique's second largest opposition party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), is threatening that it will not take its seats in parliament, or in the provincial assemblies, in protest at what it considers "the most fraudulent elections in the history of Mozambican democracy".

The boycott threat came at a Tuesday press conference in the central city of Quelimane, addressed by a member of the MDM Political Commission, Victorino Francisco.

The MDM currently has 17 members sitting in the national parliament, the Assembly of the Republic. The provisional results announced so far, suggest that the size of the MDM parliamentary group will be cut to eight.

The threat to boycott the new parliament is likely to be ineffective, and merely deprives the MDM voters of a voice.

The quorum for a parliamentary sitting is that half the elected members - 125 - must be present. The landslide victory of the ruling Frelimo Party will mean that it has no problem in meeting the quorum on its own. On the current projections, Frelimo is likely to have more than a two thirds majority in parliament, which means that, if it so wishes, it can amend the constitution on its own.

The main opposition party, Renamo, has not yet announced whether it will take its seats. After the 2014 elections, Renamo threatened a boycott but then backed down after meetings between President Filipe Nyusi, and the then Renamo leader, the late Afonso Dhlakama.

Francisco also complained at delays by the district courts in Zambezia province in dealing with cases of alleged electoral offences submitted by the MDM. Under the current legislation, electoral offences are judged in the first instance by district courts (which were available 24 hours a day during the election period), and appeals can be made to the Constitutional Council, Mozambique's highest body in matters of constitutional and electoral law.

Francisco said the MDM had submitted 20 cases to the courts in the districts of Alto-Molocue, Chinde, Gurue, Gile, Milange, Mocuba, Morrumbala, Maganja da Costa, Namacurra and Luabo.

"We have a very long list of known and identified voters who deposited more than five votes in he ballot boxes in favour of Frelimo", he said. The cases the MDM had sent to the courts, he added, also concerned certain Mozambican election observers, who were caught in possession of additional, pre-marked ballot papers.

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