H.E. Dlamini Zuma to Steer AUC Till January 2017

Published on 19th July 2016

No white smoke -the two-thirds super majority was elusive to the contestants to become chairperson of the African Union Commission for the next four years.

The established rules were followed.

Elections suspended to January 2017 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the 28th AU Summit with fresh elections.

The Incumbent stays on until fresh balloting.

Three candidates vied for the position of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission. Botswana's Foreign Affairs Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, representing Southern Africa; Equatorial Guinea's Foreign Minister Agapito Mba Mokuy, representing Central Africa, and former Ugandan Vice president Specioza Naigaga Wandira Kazibwe, representing East Africa.

None of the three nominated candidates could muster the necessary two-thirds majority. In the early rounds,  Dr. Specioza Naigaga Wandira Kazibwe got 11 votes, Dr. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, got 16 votes and Minister Mba Mokuy polled at 12 votes. Based on the votes, there were heavy abstentions. In keeping with the rules, the election was suspended to January 2017 since no candidate received the required votes.

This scenario is not unprecedented but the abstention was a new curve or dodge.

In the  contest between the current Chairperson H.E Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and the then incumbent H.E Jean Ping of Gabon in 2012, the  election was suspended (postponed) and moved from January to July at the 19th Summit of the African Union when the two candidate did not get the required two-thirds of the votes during the January ballot. 

In three consecutive ballots, Dr. Dlamini Zuma progressively inched forward with majority of the votes and   got more than the required 37 out of the 51 possible in a solitary fourth ballot when H.E. Ping withdrew after the third round.

The process: 

If no candidate obtains in the first ballot the two-thirds majority required, the ballot shall continue until one obtains it. If after the third ballot this remains inconclusive, the next ballot is restricted to the two candidates who obtained the greatest number of votes in the third round.

If after three further ballots, neither of the candidates obtains the majority required, the candidate with the least votes shall be obliged to withdraw.

If the remaining candidate fails to secure the required two-third majority, the chairperson of the assembly suspends the election.

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