terça-feira, agosto 07, 2018

Who becomes mayor?

Must mayor and assembly members be local?

The CM proposals suddenly raised the possibility that candidates on a party list need not be local, and this was challenged by parliament's 1st commission (Constitutional Affairs). It notes that the recently passed constitutional amendments say that the municipal assembly "is elected by citizens resident in the municipality," thus to register to vote a person must be resident locally. But the CM draft law simply says that a candidate must be registered. Could it be in another municipality?

The assumption is always that candidates must be registered locally, but the section (art 85) on who can vote in a polling station where they are not registered, questions this. The law includes the normal list who can vote at any polling station: polling stations staff, party agents, police, journalists, and observers. But the CM added  one more: "candidates for mayor who have registered in any municipality, even if they are not registered in this one." (art 85) This clearly implies candidates for mayor need not be from the same municipality. The AR rejected this, but it remains unclear if candidates this year must be local.

The CM draft to revise the basic municipal law (2/97) explicitly would allow three candidates for municipal assembly, including the head of the list, to come from other municipalities. (art 96-A) Based on their report on the electoral law, it seems highly likely that the AR 1st commission will hold that to be unconstitutional.


Joseph Hanlon
Parties versus prominent people

Most democracies face challenges over decentralisation - how much power is retrained by the national party, how much is devolved to local parties branches, and whether directly elected mayor gain too much personal power. Both Renamo and Frelimo saw this happen in 2008. For Frelimo, Eneas Comiche became too popular and was too honest for party barons, and was not allowed to stand for re-election as Maputo mayor in 2008. At the same time, Daviz Simango became too popular as mayor of Beira, and at the last minute Renamo head Afonso Dhlakama did not let him stand as Renamo candidate, but in a few days he was able to stand as an independent and was overwhelmingly elected - and set up a new party, the MDM.

Neither party was prepared to allow a mayor to gain that much personal power, thus the agreement to end direct election of mayors. The naming of the head of the list, and also the number two, are much more controlled by the parties, and it will be harder for a future Comiche or Daviz to escape the party barons and patronage systems.
Several Council of Ministers (CM) proposals which would further have strengthened national party power in the municipalities, by giving parties more power over how the major is replaced if they die or quit, requiring candidates to be party members, allowing parties to change the head of list, and allowing parties to bring in mayoral candidates from outside. However, parliament seems to support more local democracy, and has already rejected some of these.    Jh

Texts: The CM draft laws and AR commission opinions are posted  on:  http://cipmoz.org:9000/eleicoes2018/

In News reports & clippings, 27 July 2018

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