Good afternoon. News that the Constitutional Council has overturned a lower court’s ruling that the local election result in Chòkwé district was invalid (see below) might at first appear to suggest that the higher court is willing to turn a blind eye to the widespread evidence of fraud and malpractice in favour of ruling party Frelimo in the 11 October elections.
In fact, the court is only upholding its constitutional role as the sole entity with the power to rule on elections, which means that it looks likely to reject all decisions from lower courts on the election results from earlier this month. But that does not mean that it will not make its own rulings, and in fact the court has promised to do so.
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It has yet to make any, but the first signs are that the Constitutional Council will not simply do Frelimo’s bidding. As reported below, the court criticised the election authorities in Chòkwé for not giving the small New Democracy party accreditation to observe the poll. In a separate ruling, it has also rejected an appeal from the district elections commission in a Maputo suburb against a district court ruling overturning the election result there, on the grounds that the commission had no right to make such an appeal. The elections commissions and the election administration body, STAE, are both accused of carrying out electoral fraud on Frelimo’s behalf.