Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Guebuza elected in Mozambique

Despite serious irregularities according to both the European Union and The Carter Center, Frelimo's Armando Guebuza was elected the new president of Mozambique. The candidate of the ruling party was credited with 63.74% of the vote while opposition leader Afonso Dhlakama of Renamo gained only 31.74%. Frelimo won a convincing majority of parliamentary seats: 160 to Frelimo's 90. Turnout was a very low 36%.

Despite reports that the irregularities did not significantly change the results, Renamo has promised to boycott the new parliament. In fact, the domestic Electoral Observatory said that correcting irregularities actually could cost Renamo two or three parliamentary seats in [the western province of] Tete.

Observers attribute Renamo's sharp decline since the 1999 elections to Dhlakama. The Renamo leader has apparently refused to build a strong party structure, in contrast to Frelimo, and his cult of personality is waning. In the most recent parliament, Frelimo had only a slim 17 seat advantage.

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