Mozambique counts votes after polls seen as test of peace deal

MAPUTO, Vote counting has begun in Mozambique after key parliamentary, presidential and provincial elections that President Filipe Nyusi said should help anchor peace in the southern African nation.

Acceptance of the results of Tuesday’s elections are seen as a key test of a peace deal signed in August between the ruling Frelimo party and its old civil-war-foe-turned-political-rival, Renamo.

The ceasefire agreement brought a formal end to hostilities, almost three decades after the end of a 15-year civil war that killed an estimated one million people.

Voting proceeded relatively smoothly across the country on Tuesday, but security fears kept some people from the polls while scattered incidents of ballot-stuffing were reported. Observers in several provinces also said they were restricted from doing their work.

The elections are widely expected to extend Frelimo’s decades-long rule over Mozambique, and Nyusi is all but certain to be re-elected for a second term.

But the peace deal has given Renamo hope of winning more political power in a country dominated by Frelimo since its independence from Portugal in 1975.

Mozambique has chosen peace, Nyusi said after casting his ballot at a school in the capital, Maputo.

He praised Mozambicans for deciding their destiny in elections and called for peace and calm to continue.

His rival, Ossufo Momade, meanwhile warned against any fraud. If [the vote] is manipulated, we will never accept it, the Renamo presidential candidate said.

Preliminary results are expected Wednesday, with full provisional results before the end of the week. A runoff will be held if no presidential candidate wins a majority.

An estimated 13 million people are registered to vote in the nation of nearly 30 million.

Source: NAM News Network