MAPUTO Mozambique has extended voter registration for elections due in October by 10 days, after a request by the main opposition party, Renamo, the government said on Tuesday.
Renamo has conducted an insurgency over the past year in parts of central and southern Mozambique and its leader Afonso Dhlakama is holed up in the remote Gorongosa area, preventing him from registering as a presidential candidate.
The government agreed to push the deadline for voter registration to May 9 from April 29 after the election commission (CNE) found that bad weather, logistics and political reasons had hampered the process, the deputy justice minister said.
"As a way to overcome this situation, the CNE proposed the extension of the voter registration period for another 10 days so that more voters can be reached," Alberto Nkutumula said.
As of April 29, 10 million voters had registered out of Mozambique's 20.3 million people, officials said.
Mozambique, one of the world's poorest countries, has discovered large coal and offshore natural gas reserves, but political uncertainty could hamper financing for the sector.
Former liberation movement Frelimo has ruled the former Portuguese colony since independence in 1975 and won every election since the end of a 16-year civil war in 1992.
(Reporting by Manuel Mucari; Writing by Stella Mapenzauswa; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)