October 13, 2004

Five candidates finally accepted for presidential election

Mozambique's Constitutional Council, the body in charge of verifying the nomination papers of presidential candidates, has accepted five of the eight nominations presented by the legal deadline of 2 October. A statement from the Constitutional Council published declared that the presidential election of 1-2 December would be contested by Armando Guebuza, general secretary of the ruling Frelimo Party; Afonso Dhlakama, leader of Renamo; Raul Domingos, leader of the Party for Peace, Development and Democracy (PDD); Carlos Reis, leader of the Mozambique National Union (UNAMO) and Yaqub Sibindy, leader of the Independent Party of Mozambique (PIMO).
Three other candidates were rejected, namely: Neves Serrano, leader of the Progressive Liberal Party of Mozambique (PPLM); Joaquim Nhota, leader of the Democratic Liberal Party of Mozambique (PADELIMO); Jose Massinga, leader of the National Democratic Party (PANADE). The Constitutional Council explained that none of these three candidates met the condition of presenting at least 10.000 supporting signatures from registered voters, all duly authenticated by a notary. There were strong grounds for believing that many of the signatures they did present had been obtained fraudulently. Thus, in the case of Serrano, the forms for his supposed 10.000 supporters "had almost all been obviously filled in and signed by the same handful of individuals". Furthermore, even though these voters were supposedly from several different provinces, the entire authentication came from two notaries' offices in Maputo.
Obtaining signatures fraudulently is a crime, and the Constitutional Council announced that it is passing the relevant documents onto prosecutors for possible criminal proceedings. (Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, Maputo)

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