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  • 2008 harmonised elections - Index of articles

  • Statutory Instruments on elections & procedures runoff & by-elections - Bill Watch 20/2008
    May 17, 2008

    Statutory Instruments on Elections

    As already notified in Bill Watch Specials of 15th and 16th May, three election-related statutory instruments were gazetted this week:

    • SI 73A - modifying the Electoral Act to extend the periods within which ZEC must hold the Presidential run-off election and the three House of Assembly by-elections
    • SI 78 – fixing Friday 27th June as polling day for the Presidential run-off election
    • SI 79 – fixing nowmination day [Friday 30th May] and polling day [27th June] for the three by-elections [see further below].

    Procedures for Presidential Run-Off and By-Elections

    Ward-Based Voting Procedure

    The Chief Elections Officer has confirmed that the procedure for voting in the run-off election will be the same as for the election on 29th March. That is in line with section 110(3) of the Electoral Act, which requires the run-off election to be held "in accordance with this Act". It follows that, as in the election of the 29th March, only registered voters will be able to vote and they will have to vote in the ward in which they are registered. Votes will be counted at polling stations immediately after the closing of the poll and results of polling station counts will be posted outside polling stations for public information [using form V.11]. Polling station results will be collated at constituency level on form V.23 for onward transmission to the Chief Elections Officer at the ZEC National Collation Centre.

    By-election nominations

    Nomination day for all three by-elections is Friday 30th May. The nomination courts will sit at the Magistrates Court, 5th Avenue, Gwanda for the Gwanda South by-election; the Magistrates Court, Tredgold Building, Bulawayo for the Pelandaba-Mpopoma by-election; and the Magistrates Court, Main Street, Gweru, for the Redcliff by-election.

    Note: A candidate who was duly nominated for one of these constituencies for the 29th March elections does not need to submit a fresh nomination paper; if he or she intends to contest the by-election, all that is necessary is written notification to the constituency elections officer of the intention to remain a candidate. New candidates must submit nomination papers.

    International observers

    Today’s issue of The Herald quotes the Minister of Foreign Affairs as saying that foreign observers invited to observe the 29th March elections are welcome to observe the run-off; their invitations are still valid. He is also quoted as stating that there would be no further invitations.

    Publication of Council Election Results

    This week the Chief Elections Officer has published results in the press for a further four provinces – Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Masvingo and Matabeleland North. The results of eight of the ten provinces have now been published, leaving only the results for Matabeleland South and Midlands still to come.

    Election Petitions

    We have no further information on the 105 election petitions [53 by ZANU-PF candidates, 52 by MDC candidates] lodged with the Electoral Court [see Bill Watch 19]. The outcome of these petitions could drastically alter the proportion of seats and accordingly the balance of power between the two main parties, in particular in the House of Assembly.

    Post-Election Violence - Impact on Run-Off Election

    Both the extent and severity of post election violence are escalating alarmingly and the number of election-related deaths are increasing. There have been detentions and beatings of election agents from the March 29 poll. The displacement of large numbers of people is continuing and there are no facilities for internally displaced persons to vote. All this, together with the attribution of violence to State agents, does not make for an environment conducive to a free and fair election.

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