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Press Statement on Mozambique Elections, Dec. 6, 1999

Maputo, Mozambique…The Carter Center commends the Mozambican people for their enthusiastic participation in the Dec. 3-5 elections, and for their demonstration of faith in the democratic process.

The delegation was invited by the National ElectionsCommission (CNE), and welcomed by the major political parties to observe these elections. The delegation is led by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, and former Botswana President Ketumile Masire and includes 50 persons representing 16 different countries.

As part of our observation activities, the Center also organized a pre-election visit in August and opened a field office in October to coordinate nine medium term observers reporting on the campaign and electoral preparations.

On election days, the observers visited 649 polling stations in approximately 50 districts across all of Mozambique's 11 provinces, representing an estimated 550,000 registered voters. On the basis of these visits and other information gathered, the Carter Center noted the following:

  • Preliminary estimates of about 75% turnout.
  • Polling station officials were well organized and efficient.
  • Party agents from both major parties were present at the large majority of polling stations visited.
  • At the overwhelming majority of sites visited, party agents and domestic observers indicated"no or a few minor problems."

Our observers came to similar conclusions, reporting serious problems in only a small fraction of the polling stations.The overwhelming majority of the polling stations opened on time on the first day of voting. Logistical difficulties delayed poll openings in some parts of the country, especially in Zambezia, and led to a decision by CNE to extend voting to a third day. Eleven polling stations never opened.A high level of participation by women as polling officials, observers, party agents, and voters.

Renamo reported some intimidation during the campaign in Tete. CNE and STAE eventually attempted to respond, but actions were late and Renamo agents were not observed at polling stations in Changara district. Although the CNE referred these complaints to the police, we believe they are also within the competence of an elections commission.

Overall, we found the electoral process to be very positive. Mozambicans turned out in large numbers to participate in the elections. We were impressed by STAE's preparation and adminstration of the electoral process, and by CNE's commitment to seeing the process through to a successful conclusion. We also commend the commitment of poll workers, party agents, and domestic observers. Although voting is over, we will continue to observe the counting and tabulation of provincial and national vote results. Once these observations are completed we will issue a final report.

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