Abstaining from the 1998 local government elections in Mozambique: some hypotheses

On June 30, 1998, the first ever local government elections in independent Mozambique took place in 33 selected cities, towns and district centres. Apart from Frelimo winning in all 33 ‘autarquias’, the most striking feature of the elections was the low voter turnout of c. 14.5 percent. The election results and the high abstention rate have plunged the country into a political crisis. After a brief survey of the election results, this article analyses possible causes for the extremely low participation rate. Six arguments are discussed: the low voter turnout reflects the electorate’s rejection of the pluralist political system and fears associated with multiparty elections; it signifies the rejection by the electorate of the decentralization and municipalization process; it is a result of insufficient voter education; it is the result of the opposition’s boycott; it signifies a ‘yellow card’ to the Frelimo party and government; and it reflects criticism of the performance of the National Electoral Commission (Comisso Nacional de Eleies, CNE). Taken together, these arguments are seen as a plausible explanation for the low voter turnout. Notes, ref., sum. in English and French (p. 12).

Title:Abstaining from the 1998 local government elections in Mozambique: some hypotheses
Author: Weimer, B.
Year:1999
Periodical:L’Afrique politique
Pages:125-145
Language:English
Geographic term:Mozambique
Abstract:On June 30, 1998, the first ever local government elections in independent Mozambique took place in 33 selected cities, towns and district centres. Apart from Frelimo winning in all 33 ‘autarquias’, the most striking feature of the elections was the low voter turnout of c. 14.5 percent. The election results and the high abstention rate have plunged the country into a political crisis. After a brief survey of the election results, this article analyses possible causes for the extremely low participation rate. Six arguments are discussed: the low voter turnout reflects the electorate’s rejection of the pluralist political system and fears associated with multiparty elections; it signifies the rejection by the electorate of the decentralization and municipalization process; it is a result of insufficient voter education; it is the result of the opposition’s boycott; it signifies a ‘yellow card’ to the Frelimo party and government; and it reflects criticism of the performance of the National Electoral Commission (Comisso Nacional de Eleies, CNE). Taken together, these arguments are seen as a plausible explanation for the low voter turnout. Notes, ref., sum. in English and French (p. 12).