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Election officials in Mozambique are tabulating the votes from
Wednesday's national elections. They say preliminary indications are
that voter turnout was high.
head of the National Electoral Commission's technical unit, Felisberto
Naife, says most of the country's polling stations had finished
counting their ballots and no major incidents had been reported on
He says the process was normal, peaceful and
orderly. Many people voted and therefore he is certain that turnout
will be higher than it was five years ago when it reached only 36
He says the results are being sent to district centers and provisional results should be released beginning next week.
official of the observer mission of the Southern African Development
Community, Kasuka Mutukwa, said preliminary observations of the
balloting were positive.
"It has been very peaceful," he said.
"People stood in long queues, including young people. So we are waiting
for the figures of what the turn-out is but certainly it was quite
impressive what we saw preliminarily."
The head of the European
Union observer team, Fiona Hall, said her group noted some technical
difficulties, such as missing voting materials, but action was usually
being taken to solve the problem.
"There was a good level of
scrutiny of the process," said Hall. "Ninety-five percent of the
polling stations that we observed had some party officials present and
80 percent of them had some domestic observers to scrutinize the
President Armando Guebuza is running for a second
five-year term and his Frelimo party is expected to win a majority of
the 250 seats in parliament.
Veteran opposition leader Afonso
Dhlakama is running for the fourth time. His Renamo party is being
challenged for the leadership of the opposition by a new party.
Mozambique Democratic Movement was founded by the mayor of Beira, Daviz
Simango, after he was expelled from Renamo last year.
the fourth national elections since Frelimo and Renamo ended a bitter
civil war in 1992. One million people died in the 16-year conflict and
millions more were displaced.
Professor Gil Lauriciano of
Maputo's Institute for International Relations says Mozambican
democracy still bears the scars of the war.
"It is fragile,
fragile in a way," he said. "It is a first experience. It is going to
take a little while. Our rhetoric is still more like, military."
says the political system is still evolving. And it will take time for
the polarization to ease and for people to understand that they can
disagree in a civil manner.