Mozambique's ruling Frelimo party and its presidential candidate have won a landslide victory in elections held earlier this month. But the main opposition party says it will not accept the results.
Mozambique's Frelimo party has been returned to power with 64 percent of the vote. The party's presidential candidate Armando Guebuza faired slightly better than his party, with his main rival Afonso Dhlakama garnering just 32 percent of the vote. Mr. Guebuza, a wealthy businessman and the handpicked successor of outgoing President Joaquim Chissano, will be inaugurated in January.
Mr. Dhlakama Wednesday condemned the poll as fraudulent and said his Renamo party do not accept the outcome. He said he would lodge an official objection with the National Election Commission and decide on a course of action. He did not repeat an earlier threat that Renamo members would refuse to take their seats in the next parliament. Mr. Dhlakama, who until 1993 led Renamo in a devastating 16-year civil war against the government, said he would not start a new war.
The election held on the first two days of this month, was marked by an unusually low voter turnout of between 30 and 40 percent -- prompting concern from observers and organizers. Some analysts say voters may have become disillusioned with how slowly the expected benefits of democracy are filtering through to the poor.
While Mozambique has enjoyed an annual growth rate of around seven percent for a decade, it remains one of the poorest countries in the world with most people earning less than one dollar per day. The economic problems have been exacerbated by AIDS which has reduced life expectancy to 40 years.
International observer groups from the Carter Center and the European Union say that while the election was largely free and fair, it was marred by some irregularities which did not affect the overall outcome. The Carter Center said in a statement that the irregularities, particularly in tabulating the results, do undermine the credibility of the Electoral Commission and could lead to errors in seat allocation in parliament.