- The Constitutional Council of Mozambique has turned down the petition of the country's united opposition to annul the controversial 1 December elections because the bid came three days too late. Thus, Armando Emilio Guebuza will be declares Mozambique's next President.
The Constitutional Council made its decision already on Saturday, but this was only made public though a statement today. "The time to appeal closed on 7 January, while the appeal was submitted to this Constitutional Council on 10 January, manifestly out of time," the Council' statement said.
The opposition RENAMO party and its leader Afonso Dhlakama had submitted the bid to annul the results of Mozambique's December elections on behalf of a united opposition. Based on the reports of international election observers and the party's own observations, RENAMO held there had been widespread poll rigging in favour of the ruling FRELIMO party.
This is the third presidential election in a row that Mr Dhlakama claims to have lost to the FRELIMO's candidate. All polls have been criticised by international election observers for a lack of transparency in the national tabulation process. Mr Dhlakama lost to outgoing President Joaquim Chissano in the two last elections.
According to official results, FRELIMO candidate Armando Guebuza won 63.74 percent of the votes in the 1 December poll. Mr Dhlakama officially came second with 31.74 percent of the votes. In the parallel parliamentary elections, FRELIMO increased its majority and won 62 percent of the votes.
While international election observers agreed there had been a large number of irregularities in the presidential poll, they nevertheless concluded that these could not have altered the final result; the victory of Mr Guebuza.
The opposition still refused to accept the outcome of the poll and as the results finally were published on 20 December, RENAMO started its legal battle for a re-run. First, the opposition complained to the national election commission of Mozambique, citing the exclusion of votes from 640 polling stations from the presidential count, representing nearly 640,000 voters.
The election commission however turned the complaint down, citing the large difference in votes between the RENAMO and FRELIMO candidates. Mr Guebuza officially had been given more than one million votes more than Mr Dhlakama. Therefore, the commission found, the final victory of Mr Guebuza could not be questioned, even if RENAMO's allegations were right.
While most agree that the FRELIMO candidate had been the people's choice, no matter how votes are counted, the allocation of parliamentary seats however is more complicated. RENAMO also alleged fraud in the parliamentary poll, and Mr Dhlakama has said he will not accept the reduced number of seats for his party.
According to the official results, RENAMO would only get 90 out of the new parliament's 250 seats, while 160 would go to FRELIMO. Mr Dhlakama has indicated that he wants to negotiate the allocation of seats with the rival ruling party. If negotiations fail, the RENAMO leader has hinted his party may leave its seat in parliament empty.
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