Southern African News Features                                           SANF 09 No 40, November 2009
Frelimo wins two-thirds in Mozambique elections
by Kizito Sikuka

President Armando Guebuza and his party have won the national elections in Mozambique with more than two-thirds majority in parliament.

Guebuza won the presidential election with 77 percent of the valid votes cast.

Preliminary reports indicate that the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo) has secured 192 parliamentary seats in the National Assembly (Assembleia da República) out of a total of 250 seats. After the last election held in 2004, Frelimo had 160 seats, so the party has increased its representation in parliament by 20 percent.

The Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo) led by Afonso Dhlakama ran second with 48 assembly seats, down from 90 seats held by the party after the previous election five years ago.

The newly formed Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) is third with eight seats in the National Assembly. This is not enough seats to have an official party group or "bench" (bancada) in the assembly which requires a minimum of 11 seats.

The MDM, led by Daviz Simango, won its seats in Sofala province in central Mozambique and in Maputo city in the south - two of the four provinces where the party managed to field candidates.

Out of a total of 19 political parties that took part in the national and provincial polls, only Frelimo and Renamo successfully filed their nomination papers to contest in every constituency for the 250 seats in the National Assembly.

Frelimo won most of the seats in the heavily populated provinces of Nampula and Zambezia in the north of the country, getting 32 and 29 seats respectively, while Renamo secured 13 and 16 seats in the same provinces.

All 16 parliamentary seats in the southern Gaza province were won by Frelimo, who lost few seats in the southern provinces.

In the presidential elections, President Guebuza has 77 percent of the votes while Dhlakama and Simango secured 14 percent and nine percent respectively, according to unofficial results. Three candidates took part in the presidential poll.

Guebuza, who was seeking re-election for a second and last term in office, secured about 2.3 million votes compared to 420, 000 for Dhlakama and 280, 000 for Simango in his first run for the presidency.

Mozambicans cast their ballot to choose a President, and members of national and provincial assemblies.

The Frelimo party is also leading in the provincial assembly elections with more than 70 percents of the votes. Mozambique held provincial polls for the first time.

The country uses an electoral system of Proportional Representation with provinces and main urban areas defined as parliamentary constituencies at national level.

The National Election Commission (CNE) is expected to announce the official results by 11 November - exactly two weeks after election day, according to the country’s constitution.

Meanwhile, election observers have praised the conduct of the 28 October election saying it was peaceful and in conformity with regional standards and principles.

A SADC Election Observer Mission made up of 98 observers led Zambian Deputy Minister of Defence Eustarckio Kazonga said no acts of intimidation or violence was observed or reported during the elections.

Most polling stations opened and closed on time allowing voters to cast their ballot.

"The pre-election phase was characterised by a peaceful, tolerant, and yet enthusiastic political atmosphere. There was clear evidence of vigour and enthusiasm among political parties as they conducted their campaigns," the SEOM said in a statement

The mission added that all political parties were free to hold rallies and meetings without any hindrance while relevant law enforcement agencies were ready to respond to any threat or disruption of the peaceful elections.

"The observer mission was impressed by the patience of voters who were able to express their franchise peacefully, freely and unhindered. It is therefore, SEOM’s overall view that the elections were conducted in an open and peaceful manner."

The CNE conducted its work in a transparent and professional manner throughout the electoral process with counting of ballots beginning immediately after the closure of the polling stations.

The SEOM urged all political parties and candidates to accept the results to consolidate the gains of democracy and political stability in the country.

"The way the people of Mozambique have been able to express their will in an impressive manner, is a valuable contribution to the consolidation of democracy and political stability in the country. This will not only be beneficial to Mozambique but to the SADC region and the African continent at large," the statement said.

"In line with SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections and the Electoral Laws of Mozambique, the Mission would like to urge all political parties and candidates to respect the will of the people. In this context any grievances arising from this process should be pursued in accordance with the laws of the country."

A detailed SEOM report on the elections will be released within 30 days of the announcement of results.

In his campaign message, President Guebuza pledged to continue tackling issues such as poverty and unemployment.

Dhlakama promised to abolish party branches in state institutions and to promote peace and stability in the country, while Simango campaigned on the promise to modernize agriculture, promote rural trade and reduce unemployment.

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