19. November 2009

Landslide victory for Frelimo but unfairness and misconduct is critizised

President Armando Geubuza was re-elected on 28 October with a record vote of nearly 3 million, with the opposition vote falling below 1 million for the first time. Frelimo will have 191 of the 250 seats in parliament (Assembleia da República, AR), also a record in the four multi-party elections since 1994.
Afonso Dhlakama, guerrilla leader of Renamo in the 1980s and presidential candidate in all four elections, fell from his peak vote of 2.1 million in 1999 to only 650,000 this year. Daviz Simango, mayor of Beira and leader of a new party, MDM (Movimento Democrático de Moçambique, Mozambique Democratic Movement), gained 340,000, 8.6% of the vote, the largest ever for a third candidate, and established himself as the first credible opposition figure from a younger generation.
Turnout was 45%, similar to 2004, but much below the high levels of 1994 and 1999. In the presidential contest, blank votes, with no mark for any candidate, were 6% of the total – double the level of 2004 but similar to 1994 and 1999.
As in 2004, Frelimo’s overwhelming victory is tainted by misconduct, unfairness, secrecy, and confusion – which was all totally unnecessary. The most professional of the international observer groups, The European Union, Commonwealth and EISA, all made strong criticisms.
Although not significantly worse than in 2004, there has definitely been no improvement, and criticisms made by observers in 1999 and 2004 are simply being repeated.
These problems cast a shadow over Frelimo’s huge and genuine victory, and over the extremely good organisation of the electoral process by STAE (Secretariado Técnico da Administração Eleitoral; Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration). (Mozambique Political Process Bulletin)

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