December 16, 2004

Guebuza to succeed Chissano as president

Mozambique's ruling FRELIMO party has won the recently concluded parliamentary and presidential elections, bagging nine of the 10 provinces, according to National Elections Commission spokesman Filipe Mandlate. "FRELIMO has done better than it did in the previous years, largely because it managed to mobilise its supporters to vote in an election otherwise marked by voter apathy," said Fernando Goncalves, editor of the weekly independent newspaper, Savana. "The party has won Nampula province, traditionally a RENAMO stronghold. It has regained Tete and Niassa, which it had lost in the last elections, while maintaining its predominance in Maputo, Inhambane and Gaza", he added. Besides the visible campaigning, FRELIMO conducted door-to-door lobbying for votes particularly in the RENAMO strongholds, according to Goncalves.
A new presidential candidate Armando Guebuza could have "played a part in providing fresh impetus to the campaigning - supporters might have thought things might be different with a new person," Goncalves added.
Mozambique held its elections on 1 and 2 December to choose a successor to Joaquim Chissano, who had been in power for 18 years. Guebuza and FRELIMO managed to secure resounding victories in Gaza (more than 90 percent of the vote), Maputo province (more than 80 percent) and Tete and Inhambane provinces (both more than 70 percent). RENAMO retained Zambezia province with 52 percent of the ballots against 37 percent. Nationally, RENAMO was expected to secure 30 percent of the votes, according to Mandlate, with the remaining 18 political parties taking 10 percent. (Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, Maputo)

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