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Mozambique Holds National Elections

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Voters in Mozambique went to the polls Wednesday in national elections for president, parliament and provincial assemblies. Officials report voting was largely orderly and peaceful.

The lines at polling stations across Mozambique began forming before dawn Wednesday as voters turned out early to elect their next government.

President Armando Guebuza of the ruling Frelimo Party was one of the first to vote in Maputo. He is running for a second, five-year term.

He told national television that he is appealing to all Mozambicans to vote in a spirit of celebration, without violence.

Veteran opposition leader Afonso Dhlakama of the Renamo Party also voted early. During the campaign he complained of many irregularities.

He says the main issue is that the elections be free and transparent. That is the only way that the loser can accept the results and the winner can govern well.

The campaign was marked by the advent of a third political force, the Mozambique Democratic Movement led by Daviz Simango, the 45 year-old mayor of Beira, the country's second-largest city.

Simango says this is an important day that provides an opportunity to choose our leaders for the next five years.

Homemaker Dulce Manecas voted after a two-hour wait in the northern suburb of Laulane.

She says she is hoping for less crime, better roads, increased supplies of water and electricity, and for lower food prices, because she says things are very expensive.

Antonio Tembe is a professor at Maputo's Industrial Institute.

He says the priorities of the new government should be education and health care, because he says these areas need a lot of work.

Some incidents of violence were reported during the campaign and opposition parties complained that some of their candidates were prevented from running on technicalities. But analysts say overall the process was peaceful and orderly.

Preliminary results are expected in a few days.