Mozambique holds presidential and parliamentary elections

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

2006 file photo of Armando Guebuza
Image: Ricardo Stuckert/PR.

Voters in Mozambique headed to the polls yesterday to elect a president, parliament, and provincial assemblies.

Officials report voting was largely orderly and peaceful. Lines at polling stations across the country began forming before dawn, as voters turned out early to elect their next government.

President Armando Guebuza of the ruling Liberation Front of Mozambique — better known as FRELIMO — was one of the first to vote in Mozambique's capital, Maputo; he is running for a second five-year term. On national television he appealed to all Mozambicans to vote in a spirit of celebration and without violence. Guebuza is predicted to win in the polls.

FRELIMO pledged to voters that it would curb poverty and corruption, and promised that it would promote growth and attract foreign investments.

Veteran opposition leader Afonso Dhlakama of the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) also voted early. During the campaign, he complained of many irregularities, saying he wanted the elections to be free and transparent.

A third opposition party also formed for this election, the Democratic Movement of Mozambique. It is led by Daviz Simango; the 45 year-old mayor of Mozambique's second-largest city of Beira.

A number of instances of violence were reported during the campaign and opposition parties complained some of their candidates were prevented from running on technicalities. However, most analysts say the elections were overall peaceful and orderly.

Preliminary results are expected in a few days.