Renamo rejects poll result

2014-10-16 20:35
A woman with a child on her back casts her vote at a polling station as the country goes to the polls in Maputo, Mozambique. (Ferhat Momade, AP)

A woman with a child on her back casts her vote at a polling station as the country goes to the polls in Maputo, Mozambique. (Ferhat Momade, AP)

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Maputo - Mozambique's main opposition party Renamo on Thursday rejected preliminary results of presidential and parliamentary elections showing the ruling party Frelimo heading for a landslide victory.

Renamo spokesperson Antonio Muchanga said Wednesday's elections were tainted by irregularities and that "the probability of false results is very big."

"We want free and fair elections," Muchanga said, stressing that those organising the elections should be held accountable for the alleged irregularities.

Renamo's comments sparked concern that the party might resume the two-year, low-level campaign of highway ambushes and attacks against police stations that ended with a peace deal signed in August.

The agreement allowed Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama, 61, to leave his hideout in the central Gorongosa mountains and to run for president.

Frelimo candidate Filipe Nyusi was expected to win with about 60% of the vote, down from 75% obtained by the party in 2009, according to results from 8.5% of polling stations and projections by civil society groups.

Dhlakama was running second with 32%, and Daviz Simango from the five-year-old Democratic Movement of Mozambique (MDM) third with 8%.

In the parliamentary elections, Frelimo had 57% of the vote, Renamo 30%, the MDM 12% and other parties one per cent.

Final results were due to be announced in two weeks' time.

Voter turnout was estimated at more than 50%, up from 44% in 2009.

Lose votes

More than 10 million people were eligible to elect the president, parliament and provincial assemblies.

Violent incidents were reported in some places, where Renamo supporters protesting the late opening of polling stations or demanding to witness the vote count clashed with police. Several people were reported to have been arrested.

The elections pitted the former independence movement Frelimo, which has governed Mozambique since independence from Portugal in 1975, against Renamo, a former anti-communist movement which waged a 16-year civil war against the initially Marxist Frelimo.

A 1993 peace deal turned Renamo into the biggest opposition party.

In 2012, Dhlakama launched a low-level insurgency, accusing Frelimo of excluding the opposition from economic power.

The Renamo leader, who is seeking the presidency for the fifth time, has said that all the previous elections had been fraudulent.

Frelimo candidate Nyusi, 55, currently defence minister, wants to succeed outgoing President Armando Guebuza, who could no longer run for office after completing two terms.

Frelimo had been expected to win, but analysts had predicted it would lose votes over allegations of corruption and illicit enrichment.

Poverty remains widespread in Mozambique, despite the economy growing at a rate of about 7% as offshore gas finds are fuelling an investment boom.

Changes in electoral law guaranteeing the three main parties representation at the electoral commission were expected to increase transparency.

The elections were monitored by observers from the European Union, the Southern African Development Community and the African Union.

Read more on:    mdm  |  frelimo  |  renamo  |  mozambique  |  southern africa  |  mozambique elections 2014

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