Mozambique forms new party

2009-03-07 17:23

Maputo - Breakaway members of Mozambican opposition party Renamo have launched a new party ahead of national elections, posing a serious challenge to the ruling Frelimo party, state radio reported late on Friday.

The Democratic Movement of Mozambique's (MDM) would-be leader, Beira mayor Daviz Simango, is expected to face incumbent President Armando Guebuza of Frelimo in general polls due to be held between November and December.

While Guebuza and Frelimo, which have led the country since 1994, are widely expected to win, the MDM is seen as posing the first serious challenge since Renamo lost credibility under the faltering leadership of former rebel leader Afonso Dhlakama.

"The opening of this convention means the birth of a party, a movement, that is going to create political balance in the Republic of Mozambique," MDM spokesperson Geraldo Carvalho told the radio.

Other smaller parties are expected to stand for the polls, but only Frelimo and MDM are seen as playing a major role.

Mozambique, one of Africa's poorest countries and still largely dependent on agriculture, has become popular with foreign companies and investors interested in staking a claim to Africa's vast mineral and energy resources.