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Wednesday, 22 December, 1999, 19:10 GMT
Opposition rejects Mozambique results

Polling station Anti-fraud procedures were not strict enough, Renamo says

The runner-up in Mozambique's presidential elections, Afonso Dhlakama, says his opposition Renamo party will never accept the results of the poll, held earlier this month.

This was robbery, daylight robbery
Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama
Official results show Mr Dhlakama was defeated by the current president, Joaquim Chissano, and his governing Frelimo party in presidential and parliamentary elections.

Renamo officials say their party was not allowed to participate in the vote-counting and have accused Frelimo officials of vote-rigging.

"We are saying that President Chissano, who has been proclaimed the winner, is a false winner because this was robbery, daylight robbery, not a difficult robbery but a cheap robbery," Mr Dhlakama told a news conference.

Renamo say they will challenge the results in the Supreme Court and warned of trouble if Frelimo interferes.

Presidential elections
President Joaquim Chissano (Frelimo) 52.3%
Afonso Dhlakhama (Renamo) 47.7%
"If President Chissano and his party pressure the Supreme Court to validate these elections there will be problems, there will be problems because democracy will disappear in the country. It will be a shameful thing in Mozambique, it will be a disaster," said Mr Dhlakama.

However Frelimo's general-secretary, Manuel Tome, has dismissed Renamo's stance as a political stunt.

International election observers have commented positively on the conduct of the vote.

Economic advances

Some commentators warned before the election that political paralysis could result if President Chissano remained in office but Renamo came to dominate parliament.

But with Frelimo retaining both the presidency and control of parliament, President Chissano should face few difficulties in continuing with economic reform plans.

Parliamentary elections
Frelimo 133 seats
Renamo 117 seats
85% turnout
The election results reflect his government's success in reviving Mozambique's economic fortunes.

In 1992, Mozambique was one of the poorest countries in the world following a civil war in which Renamo rebels - with the backing of apartheid South Africa - had sought to overthrow the Marxist Frelimo government.

The end of the war saw Frelimo adopt a multiparty constitution and pursue free-market economic policies.

Last year the country's growth rate was estimated at 11%, among the world's highest.

Nevertheless, Mozambique remains poor and the new wealth is concentrated in the extreme south, around the capital, Maputo.

South African connection

Much of Mozambique's recent success has to do with the opening up of relations with its wealthy neighbour South Africa.

Maputo is the port closest to the South African industrial heartland surrounding Johannesburg, and South African firms have led investment in the Maputo region.

The elections, which took place more than two weeks ago, were the second since the end of the war and the first to be organised by Mozambican officials rather than by the United Nations.

Polling began smoothly with a high turn-out of voters, but was extended for a third day after heavy rain in some areas caused polls to open late.

Renamo objected to the nationwide extension of voting, saying this would increase the possibility of fraud.

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See also:
20 Dec 99 |  Africa
Mozambique poll results delayed
04 Dec 99 |  Africa
Big turn-out in Mozambique poll
15 Nov 99 |  Africa
Queen's praise for Mozambique
15 Oct 99 |  Africa
Mozambique opens stock exchange
02 Aug 99 |  Africa
Mozambique debt written off
08 Jun 99 |  debt
Mozambique's foreign debt

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