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Mozambique votes in National Poll


Armando Guebuza

Armando Guebuza

Mozambique is voting in elections for a new president, parliament and regional assemblies. The governing party, Frelimo, which has been in power since independence in 1975, is widely expected to win, helped by splits in the opposition.

The current President, Armando Guebuza, says he will work towards national unity and development. His two opponents, Afonso Dhlakama and Daviz Simango, said it was time to end Frelimo’s monopoly of power.

As well as the presidency, Frelimo currently holds 160 seats in the 250-seat parliament. Polls opened at 0600 (0400GMT) and will close at 1800, with early results expected later on Wednesday. Frelimo has held power since independence, fighting a civil war until 1992 with Renamo, which was backed by the white minority government in South Africa.

Recent economic reforms have given the country strong GDP growth, although the effects of the world economic crisis have made themselves felt, and exports have dropped significantly this year. Afonso Dhlakama, a veteran Renamo leader, is President Guebuza’s main opponent. He says he will not contest the presidency again if he loses this election.

Daviz Simango’s Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), which was only formed nine months ago after splitting from Renamo, has been excluded from fielding candidates in nine of the 13 parliamentary regions.

He says that Frelimo is trying to stifle the opposition, but the country’s Constitutional Council rejected MDM appeals to contest polls nationwide, saying its registration papers were not in order.

Mr Simango, formerly mayor of the country’s second city Beira, says that Frelimo’s policies have favoured the south of the country at the expense of other regions. “We want to change this scenario,” said Mr Simango. In all, 19 parties are taking part in the elections, but several more were barred by the Constitutional Council.

Source: GBC NEWS

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