October 5, 2004

Eight candidates for the presidency

Eight candidates have delivered their nomination papers for Mozambique's presidential election, scheduled for 1-2 December, according to a spokesman for the National Elections Commission (CNE). The main contenders are Armando Guebuza, secretary-general of the ruling Frelimo Party, and Afonso Dhlakama, leader of Renamo. Another candidate who could take a sizeable share of the vote is Raul Domingos, formerly the number two in Renamo, but who was expelled from the party in 2000. He now heads the Party for Peace, Democracy and Development (PPD), which has become a focal point for Renamo dissidents. The other five candidates are all from minor parties, and their chances of scraping together more than a couple of per cent of the vote each must be regarded as negligible.
The most serious of these minor candidates is Yaqub Sibindy, leader of the Independent Party of Mozambique (PIMO), which is a disguised islamic party - disguised because, under Mozambican law, it is illegal to use religious terms such as "islamic" or "christian democratic" in the names of political party. PIMO managed to win seats in three municipal assemblies (in the northern towns of Nampula, Angoche and Cuamba) in the 2003 local elections. In the 1994 general election PIMO won 1.2 per cent of the vote, and in the 1999 election this declined to 0.7 per cent. (Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, Maputo)

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