Presidential and legislative elections today
A total of 10,963,148 eligible voters will go to the polls today in Mozambique to elect a new President, the 250 members of the Assembly of the Republic and 811 members of the ten provincial councils.
In the Presidential election Filipe Nyussi, the Minister of National Defence will replace incumbent President Armando Guebuza as the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) presidential candidate, because the latter has completed his permitted two terms in office.
Nyussi is the likely winner of the Presidential election, but he will be challenged by Afonso Dhlakama the leader of the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO). Only recently has the government agreed a new peace pact after Dhlakama took to the jungle once more two years ago.
The third contender is Daviz Simango, the Mayor of Beira (Mozambique’s second largest city) and presidential candidate for the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM).
In the 2009 election, Guebuza won the Presidential election with 75% of the vote. Dhlakama took 16.41% and Simango managed just 8.59%.
In the Assembly of the Republic FRELIMO won 191 of the 250 seats up for grabs. RENAMO won 51 seats and the MDM took eight seats in their first elections.
FRELIMO’s grip on power has been slowly weakening and there have been protests across the country at the rising crime rate. A number of analysts are expecting RENAMO and MDM to pick up seats from FRELIMO. However the ruling party has a very strong grass roots organisation which the other parties lack.
Last December FRELIMO won 49 of the 53 municipalities, but lost three key provincial capitals, Nampula, Beira and Quelimane to the MDM.
There are 27 political parties, two coalitions and one citizen’s association standing in the parliamentary election. The 17,010 polling stations in Mozambique will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time. A further 191 polling stations abroad will cover the 88,820 Mozambique voters living abroad. Those living abroad elect two MPs in the Africa constituency which covers Mozambicans resident in seven countries – South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya. The second constituency covers the “rest of the world” which, in reality, means Portugal and Germany.