MAPUTO (Reuters) - Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo party and its candidate Filipe Nyusi won this month’s presidential and legislative elections, according to provisional results released on Friday, with votes counted from all provinces.
The initial full results of the Oct. 15 vote will still need to be ratified by the Constitutional Court before becoming official and final.
A former Portuguese colony located on southern Africa’s Indian Ocean coast, Mozambique is still one of the world’s least-developed nations but is starting to tap huge coal and natural gas deposits with foreign investors.
The tally from the National Elections Commission (CNE) gave Nyusi 57 percent of the votes, while Renamo’s Afonso Dhlakama had just over 36 percent and Daviz Simango of the Mozambique Democratic Movement obtained nearly 7 percent.
Frelimo, which has ruled Mozambique since its independence in 1975, also maintained its majority in the 250-seat parliament, but was expected to end up with some 50 seats fewer than it won in 2009 elections.
Nyusi, 55, an engineer and veteran administrator of Mozambique’s state railways, was selected by the ruling party as its candidate to succeed President Armando Guebuza, who is barred by the constitution from serving a third term.
Renamo, the main opposition party, and its candidate, former civil war rebel leader Dhlakama, have alleged widespread fraud and irregularities, including ballot stuffing and pro-Frelimo bias and intimidation from the police and state media.
But last week’s voting was endorsed as broadly acceptable by international observers. CNE spokesman Paulo Cuinica promised that all properly submitted complaints and protests would be investigated.
“We don’t want any doubts to remain,” he said.
Dhlakama, who has lost every major election to the ruling party since the end of a 1975-1992 civil war, nevertheless topped the vote count in several central and two northern provinces, showing the former guerrilla commander, now 61, remains a political force.
He has called the elections a charade but has ruled out violence, which is reassuring for foreign donors and investors.
In the two years before the vote, Renamo partisans clashed sporadically with troops and police and ambushed traffic on a north-south highway. The Renamo leader only emerged from a bush hideout last month to ratify a deal with Guebuza that reaffirmed a 1992 peace pact.
Mozambique is hoping revenue from its large natural gas deposits and its fledgling coal mining and export industry will help it emerge from years of poverty and aid dependence.
European Union monitors have expressed concern about delays in the vote tabulation and the United States - like Europe a major donor - has also called for all electoral protests to be cleared up by the relevant authorities under the law.
On Thursday, a week after the elections, Mozambique opened up 15 new offshore and onshore areas for gas and oil exploration and production in its north, center and south.
The blocks on offer in the latest licensing round launched in Maputo and London included three new areas of the northern Rovuma Basin, where U.S. oil major Anadarko Petroleum Corp and Italy’s Eni are already developing multi-billion-dollar liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects.
Reporting by Manuel Mucari; Writing by Pascal Fletcher; Editing by Ed Cropley and Angus MacSwan