Mozambique sets October 2019 for general elections

 Filipe Nyusi (Gianluigi Guercia, AFP)
Filipe Nyusi (Gianluigi Guercia, AFP)

Mozambique will hold presidential, legislative and provincial elections on October 15 2019, President Filipe Nyusi announced on Wednesday.

The date was unveiled amid negotiations on consolidating peace between the government and former rebels, the Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo).

Renamo and the ruling Frelimo fought a 16-year civil war that ended with a peace deal in 1992, but Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama took to the bush again in 2013 as his supporters waged a new low-level insurgency.

In December 2016, Dhlakama announced a truce with the government, which until now is yet to culminate in a formal peace accord.

Dhlakama and Nyusi have agreed on constitutional reforms that will decentralise power.

The reforms, currently under debate in parliament, will allow voters to directly elect provincial governors, who at present are appointed by the president.

Renamo has long sought greater decentralisation of power and better integration of its supporters into the police and military.

Analysts suggest that Nyusi, who is eligible to run for one more term, is expected to narrowly win next year's elections, as Renamo has been growing its support.

Frelimo has glided to victory in five previous multiparty elections since 1994 although the opposition alleges fraud.

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