Mozambique’s parliament today approved a package of reforms that will allow municipal elections scheduled for 10 October to go ahead – and will make decentralisation, which is a condition for long-term peace between the government and Renamo, a reality.
The reforms, approved in a two-day special parliamentary session, were contained in two laws. The first dealt with the election of local officials and the distribution of powers among them, while the second established locations and boundaries of municipalities around the country.
Decentralisation is a crucial component of the long-term peace deal between Renamo and the Mozambican government, but the parliamentary session had previously been delayed when Frelimo MPs demanded that Renamo complete a demilitarization program before decentralizing reforms were passed.
A deal brokered by Mozambican president Filipe Nyusi and Renamo’s interim leader Ossufo Momade allowed the session to take place. Under that deal, there must be tangible progress towards demilitarisation by the end of the coming weekend.
Among other changes in Mozambique’s election system, today’s laws ban the use of cameras in voting booths in an effort to prevent interference with ballot secrecy.
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