His Excellency the President of the Republic, Taur Matan Ruak, expresses his concern over the implementation of the Law of Election Administration Bodies, which was enacted last week.
This parliamentary law intends to replace members of the National Election Board before the end of the term in office to which they were appointed. The appointment of a new NEB such a short time away from electoral acts as important as the upcoming elections for traditional leaderships, later this year, and the presidential and parliamentary elections of 2017, puts into question the proper exercise of the powers of supervision over voter registration and the elections themselves, and raises doubt among the people on the independence of the NEB. A new NEB will not have time to get familiarized with the duties to perform in such a short period, and its replacement in the middle of the term will certainly be seen as an interference with the independence of the NEB, which is protected by Article 65 of the Constitution. It should also be noted that this change was introduced by the National Parliament, and it was neither proposed by the Government nor endorsed by the President of the Republic.
The President of the Republic requested a preventive review of the constitutionality of this piece of legislation to the Court of Appeals, who despite the contrary opinion of the Public Prosecutor’s Office and most observers, did not declare the unconstitutionality of this legislative measure. Nevertheless, the President of the Republic politically vetoed this law, for not agreeing with the solution, which, after being confirmed under Article 88 §3 of the Constitution, he was forced to enact.
President Taur Matan Ruak understands that the implementation of this law can be postponed until after next year’s parliamentary elections. This way, it will be clear to all that there is no intention of interfering with the performance of the NEB in the upcoming elections, and there the goal is to ensure maximum effectiveness in the performance of the NEB in the supervision of the voting registration and electoral acts that are already under way.
Palácio Presidente do Nicolau Lobato, 9 of June 2016