More than 12.9 million Mozambicans will on Tuesday choose the country’s next president, legislators and provincial governors in a poll seen as the litmus test for a shaky peace deal signed in August that put an end to decades of violence between the two main political parties.Mozambique’s National Election Commission chairperson Abdul Carimo told journalists in the capital Maputo on Monday that the poll body had overcome budgetary constraints and was raring to go for Tuesday’s general election.
“We no longer have a budget deficit with regard the electoral process. I can now assure that the process is proceeding normally and is fully funded,” said Carimo.
The ruling Frelimo party is expected to win the poll.
There are 26 political parties contesting elections for the National Assembly. The race for parliament is, however, expected to be a three-way battle pitting Frelimo against the main opposition Renamo and the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM).
Four presidential candidates will square off against one another, with the Frelimo candidate, President Filipe Nyusi, widely tipped for reelection.
The 60-year-old former defence minister came to power in 2014 after winning 57 percent of the vote.
Since taking office, Nyusi has presided over a debt crisis that upended the economy, the rise of a low-level Islamist insurgency in the country’s north and a further deterioration in Frelimo’s share of the vote at municipal elections last year.
Running for Renamo is Ossufo Momade, an experienced former fighter who was close to the party’s long-time leader Afonso Dhlakama, who died in 2018.
Momade does not command the same popularity as his predecessor who was the face of the party.
MDM’s presidential candidate, Daviz Simango is a former Renamo politician who founded the party after Renamo refused to name him as its candidate in 2009 elections.
A civil engineer by training, Simango serves as the popular mayor of Mozambique’s fourth-largest city, Beira.
The fourth presidential contender is Mario Albino who heads up the Action Party of the United Movement for Integral Salvation (AMUSI) and the only presidential hopeful without a seat in parliament.
Albino founded AMUSI in the northeastern province of Nampula where he unsuccessfully ran for mayor of its capital last year. The party is a breakaway of the MDM.
Vote counting is expected to commence immediately after Tuesday’s polling ends at 6pm (1600 GMT) and partial results will be released as counting is completed at the various voting stations.
Official results are expected on 12 November.