Mozambique’s president and ruling party headed for big win

International

FILE — In this Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019 file photo, vote counting takes place after the polling station closed in Maputo, Mozambique. Mozambique’s president and ruling Frelimo party seem to be heading for an overwhelming victory according to preliminary results released Thursday Oct. 24, 2019, as the opposition and some observers allege the election was marked by intimidation, ballot stuffing and flawed vote counting. (AP Photo/Ferhat Momade/File)

MAPUTO, Mozambique (AP) — Mozambique’s president and ruling Frelimo party are heading for overwhelming victories according to preliminary results, as the opposition and some observers charge the elections were marked by intimidation, ballot stuffing and flawed vote-counting.

The opposition Renamo party has rejected the results and called for the elections to be re-run.

Results from all Mozambique’s provinces, available Thursday but not yet ratified by the central electoral commission, show a landslide win for Frelimo, with the ruling party gaining an absolute majority in the presidential poll, parliament and provincial seats.

President Filipe Nyusi appears to have garnered more than 70% of the votes and Frelimo looks set to secure a two-thirds majority in parliament, which would allow it to change the constitution without needing support from the opposition.

Renamo has not won governorship of a single province, dashing the party’s hopes for some provincial leadership positions after laws were changed to allow the election of provincial governors.

With an estimated turnout of 52%, unofficial results estimate that Nyusi won the presidential race with 70% of votes, while Renamo leader Ossufo Momade got 21% and MDM leader Daviz Simango got 7%, according to a parallel count of a representative sample of polling stations conducted by the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa.

The credibility of the results has been questioned by observers who noted numerous irregularities including the registration of 300,000 more voters in Gaza province than its voting-age adults, according to the 2017 census.

Several incidents were reported across the country where people were found trying to enter polling stations with extra ballots marked for Frelimo.

Violence surrounding the election included a Renamo official shot dead with her husband in Tete province a day before the vote. The head of a local observer group was shot dead in Gaza province eight days before the election and police acknowledged that four of his attackers were police officers.

Last week the U.S. Embassy expressed “significant concerns regarding problems and irregularities” during the voting and counting which “raise questions about the integrity of these procedures and their vulnerability to possible fraudulent acts.”

The European Union’s election observation mission said “an unlevel playing field was evident throughout the campaign. The ruling party dominated the campaign in all provinces and benefited from the advantages of incumbency.”

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