45 Capeverdeans (UK) officially Eligible to vote in next elections
Sixty-nine Capeverdeans registered in the UK electoral registration carried out by a commission mostly based in London. This was confirmed by Emanuel Duarte, President of the UK Electoral Commission. However, the final number of Capeverdeans in the UK that will be able to vote in the next elections might fall to as low as 45. This is because many were registered on a temporary basis pending presentation of valid Capeverdean identification.
Late start to electoral registration
The electoral registration of Capeverdeans in the Diáspora began officially in August. However, in the United Kingdom the process only started on 1 December 2010. This meant that the UK started about five months late, and, only two and a half days before the official date for halting the process.
The regulations stipulate that voter registration must be suspended by 65 days before the election. The team working in the UK had less than three days to carry out the voter registration of Cape Verdeans in the United Kingdom. The next legislative elections in Cape Verde will be on 6 February 2011.
According to Emanuel Duarte, this happened because there were “delays and logistical problems. We started on Wednesday (Dec. 1) after midday and the census had to end on Friday, 3 December.”
UK and Belgium were the two regions that experienced delays in starting the process of registration of Cape Verdeans in the diaspora. Emanuel Duarte explains, “In August I was already in England to organise the work of the electoral committee and but then found out that two elements designated to be part of the commission did not have Capeverdean nationality.”
This process was further hampered because the names of new elements of the electoral commission had to be re-submitted to parliament in Cape Verde and published in the ‘Boletin Oficial’. However this all coincided with the holiday of parliament which only resumed work in late October.
The electoral registration of Capeverdeans in the Diáspora was originally scheduled to end on 26 November but had to be postponed to December 3.
The UK electoral commission travelled to Belgium for training between 29-30 November. They returned to the on 1 December when the voter registration began.”If we had started earlier we would have had greater success.
“Also we were unlucky because the weather conditions in these two days went downhill. Snow prevented many people from going to the fixed registering post [in Colindale, north London].
When questioned about the initial mistake of choosing‘non-cvnationals’ to be part of the electoral commission, Duarte said: “the choice of the members of the commission is done by the political parties, in this respect I do not have any power. It is not up to me as diplomat to make that evaluation.”
The two political parties competing for votes in the Diaspora are the PAICV and MPD. The electoral committee is composed of six members and a chairman. Each of the two political parties indicates three members of the committee. The chairman is appointed by the government.
The process will be resumed on 7 February 2011, after the elections in Cape Verde. Duarte who is now based in London to co-ordinate the electoral registration process, will be set up office in central London, Euston.