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2008 harmonised elections - Index of articles
petitions, possble run-off - Bill Watch 14/2008
April 04, 2008
results were officially declared by ZEC officials at ward level.
These will not be announced from the National Command Centre, but
will be published in the press as required by the Electoral
House of Assembly:
these results, which were officially declared by the Constituency
Election Officers, have now been announced by ZEC at the National
Command Centre: - MDC [Tsvangirai] 99, Zanu PF 97, MDC [Mutambara]
10 and Independent 1, accounting for all 207 contested seats. There
are still 3 seats that will have to be filled by by-election [the
polls having been called off because candidates died before polling
day]. The new House of Assembly will comprise 210 elected seats
[no appointed seats].
results were officially declared by the Constituency Elections Officers
– but only 44 have been announced from the ZEC National Command
Centre. There is nothing in the electoral law to account for this
delay in announcing the Senate Results [nor the previous delay in
announcing the House of Assembly results].
Out of 93 Senate
- 60 are elected
[6 Senators per province]
- 18 are chiefs
- 10 are Provincial
Governors appointed by the new President
- 5 are appointed
by the new President
Chiefs: 16 Chiefs
were elected by the eight non-metropolitan provinces on Monday 31st
March. Together with the President and Deputy President of the Council
of Chiefs [who are ex officio Senators] they make the number of
Chiefs in the Senate 18.
of the Electoral Act permits any political party or candidate who
contested the election to ask ZEC for a recount in one or more polling
stations. The request must be made within 48 hours of the declaration
of the winning candidate at ward or constituency level [or, in the
case of the Presidential election, at the ZEC National Command Centre].
ZEC can also order a recount on its own initiative [no time limit
stated]. In both cases ZEC will decide when and where the recount
will take place and the procedure to be adopted. Accredited observers,
candidates and their representatives are entitled to be present.
of ballot papers
of the Electoral Act. After votes have been counted at polling stations,
ballot papers and related documents are placed in sealed packets
and delivered to the constituency elections officer. The constituency
elections officer stores these in places designated by the Chief
Elections Officer. Unless an election petition is lodged [see below],
the ballot papers and related documents will be destroyed 14 days
after the end of the “election period” [see under election
petitions for definition of “election period”]. If an
election petition is lodged, the documents must be retained for
6 months, after which they will be destroyed unless the Electoral
Court orders otherwise.
ZEC has categorically
stated that these will not be announced until all the 60 elected
Senate seat results have been announced. Nothing in the Electoral
law dictates this sequence. But at this stage ZEC attributes the
delay to the verification of the figures returned by the constituencies
and having them agreed by the relevant parties.
Announcement of Results: There is no specific legal deadline, but
lawyers have opined that ZEC has a duty to act with reasonable speed.
The MDC have applied to the High Court for an order obliging ZEC
to announce the result promptly.
Event of a Run Off
Act requires a run-off to be held within 21 days “after the
previous election”. Legal opinion is divided on whether this
means 21 days after polling day or 21 days after ZEC’s announcement
of the result. The ZEC position given by the PRO department is that
it dates from polling day.
It has been
suggested that the 21 day deadline may be extended by regulations
made under the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act. The
Act is wide enough to permit this.
candidate wishing to challenge an election result has the right
to lodge an election petition with the Electoral Court. An election
petition must be lodged promptly:
30 days of the end of the election period in the case of the Presidential
election [Ref: Electoral Act, section 111(1)]
14 days of the end of the election period in the case of a Senate,
House of Assembly or Council election [Ref: Electoral Act, sections
168(2) and 133]
For the Presidential
election the “election period” ends with the declaration
of the winning candidate. For the House of Assembly and Senate elections,
it ends with the official declaration of the last constituency result
[i.e. the last declaration at constituency level by the constituency
elections officer on the spot, not the last ZEC Command Centre announcement].
For Council elections itends with the official declaration of the
last ward result for the Council concerned. [Ref: Electoral Act,
section 4, definition of “election period”.]
court has no discretion to accept a late petition.
petition must be dealt with and decided promptly. The Electoral
Court must hand down its decision within 6 months of a petition
being lodged [section 182 of the Electoral Act]. Its decision on
a question of fact is final, i.e., there can be no appeal. Its decision
on a question of law may, however, be taken on appeal to the Supreme
Court, and the Supreme Court must hand down its decision within
6 months [Ref: Electoral Act, section 173].
of government pending results
the incumbent President remains President until the winner of the
Presidential election assumes office [i.e. takes the oaths of loyalty
and of office - which must happen on the day he is declared the
winner of the poll or within 48 hours thereafter].
and Ministers: these are still in office, even those who have not
won seats as MPs or Senators. They will go out of office if a new
President assumes office.
the old Parliament was dissolved on the 28th March [the day before
polling day]. The new Parliament will meet on a day to be fixed
by the next President by proclamation in the Government Gazette,
which must be within 180 days after the 28th March.
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