Election disputes

Updated May 2010

Links on this page go to pages providing further detail on the subject for the country concerned.

Analysis

EISEMAN, M 2003 Conflict and Elections Brief [PDF document], EISA SADC Insight 2

Country data

Country Procedure
ANGOLA All decisions of the National Electoral Commission (CNE) on challenges to voting irregularities and counting tabulations are heard by the Constitutional Court, but must be filed within 48 hours of notification of the decision of the CNE.
BOTSWANA Election petitions are heard by the High Court. Petitions must be submitted within 30 days of the announcement of the result disputed. If petitions are withdrawn the costs devolve on the petitioner.
DRC Teams of mediators are deployed during the election period to resolve disputes. Petitions are heard by the courts.
LESOTHO The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) appoints a tribunal to hear and rule on complaints. Election petitions against IEC decisions are heard by the High Court. Petitions must be submitted within 30 days of the end of the election period and the petition must be heard within 30 days of lodging.
MADAGASCAR All complaints and disputes heard by High Constitutional Court
MALAWI Election petitions and complaints are handled by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC). Appeals against the MEC rulings are made to the High Court. Election petitions of the Presidential result must be received by the High Court within 48 hours of closing of polls.
MAURITIUS No formal conflict resolution mechanisms. In the event of electoral disputes, petitions are heard by a court with at least two judges sitting on the bench. Election petitions must be submitted to the courts within 21 days after the date of the return of results.
MOZAMBIQUE Petitions are made to the National Electoral Commission (CNE) within two days of the results being published. Appeals against decisions made by the CNE are made to the Constitutional Council within three days of the decision being published and must be decided on within 5 days.
NAMIBIA Election petitions are heard by the High Court and petitions must be submitted within 30 days of the announcement of the result disputed. The decision of the Court must be rendered with 60 days of the registration of the petition. Appeals may be lodged with the Supreme Court.
SEYCHELLES In the event of a dispute over the results, the Constitutional Court has authority to hear complaints. Decisions may be appealed in the Seychelles Court of Appeal.
SOUTH AFRICA The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and its officer are empowered to resolve objections, appeals and code of conduct disputes through conciliation. Election petitions are heard by the courts with the Electoral Court acting as final court of appeal. Parties must submit complaints within 48 hours of the announcement of results.
SWAZILAND High Court adjudicates petitions regarding elections.
TANZANIA Presidential election results are not subject to challenge under the law. Election petitions for parliamentary elections must be presented to the High Court within 14 days of the announcement of results. Resident Magistrates hear cases for local elections if submitted within 30 days of the announcement of results
ZAMBIA Election petitions are heard by the High Court. Petitions must be lodged within 30 days of the disputed results being declared. The ECZ is empowered to resolve conflicts and disputes through conciliation or mediation and to set up conflict management committees to resolve disputes.
ZANZIBAR The constitution prohibits enquiry by the courts into "anything done by the Electoral Commission in performance of its functions". The Electoral Act provides for other petitions to be heard by the High Court
ZIMBABWE Multiparty liaison committees are set up by Zimbabwe Electoral Commission at national, provincial and constituency level to attempt to resolve electoral disputes; election Petitions are heard by Electoral Court