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The BBC's Grant Ferrett
"An election which was being praised as a model for developing countries is in disarray"
 real 28k

The BBC's Greg Barrow
Looks at Mozambique's economic miracle and its cashew nut industry
 real 28k

Saturday, 4 December, 1999, 20:36 GMT
Voting extended in Mozambique
Mozambicans queue to vote An 80% poll is predicted

Voting in Mozambique's presidential and parliamentary elections has been extended for an extra day aross the country.

The president of the electoral commission, Jamisse Taimo, said this was to allow voting to continue in parts of the country where the polls opened late. Heavy rain in central Zambezia province delayed the opening of polling stations on Saturday.

The official opposition party, Renamo, has voiced its disagreement to the countrywide voting extension.

Renamo spokesman Gulam Jafar said: "We agree with extending the voting period to the affected areas, but not to the whole country. We don't understand the reason for it."

Recent history
1975
Independence from Portugal
1990
Frelimo introduces multi-party system
1992
Peace deal with Renamo
1994
Frelimo beats Renamo in elections
He said the extension would give time for ruling party Frelimo "to prepare fraud".

Mr Jafar also alleged that fraud had taken place in the provinces of Nampula and Manica, and that ballot boxes had arrived at polling stations with completed voting slips already inside.

The BBC's Grant Ferrett in Maputo says the announcement that the vote would be extended has disappointed international observers - who said polling was going relatively smoothly - as well as the 30,000 or so Mozambicans who are manning the polling stations.

By the end of the second day of voting, many had little to do, such was the enthusiasm to vote in the early stages of the poll.

President Chissano votes Joachim Chissano is likely to retain the presidency
The national electoral commission estimates that the final turnout could be as high as 80%.

Mozambicans flocked to polling stations on the second day of voting in the second presidential and parliamentary elections since the end of the civil war.

The main government-backed newspaper described the first day's voting as "abundant, orderly and calm".

Close contest for parliament

Renamo is hoping to build on its strong showing at the first elections five years ago and to seize control of parliament from Frelimo which has been in power since independence in 1975.

Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama hopes for gains in parliament
President Joachim Chissano is expected to be returned to office, but analysts predict a close parliamentary contest test for his Frelimo party from Renamo - the former rebel movement which fought a 15-year war against Frelimo.

With opinion polls banned throughout the election campaign and the voting period, accurate forecasting is all but impossible.

Even if Renamo were to gain a parliamentary majority, President Chissano has given no indication that he would include any Renamo members in his cabinet.

The current elections are the first to be organised by Mozambicans themselves, rather than by the United Nations.

Parliament
Frelimo
129 seats
Renamo
112 seats
United Democratic Union
9 seats
Whatever the outcome, it is widely expected that Mozambique would continue with its largely successful free-market economic policies.

With an annual growth rate of about 10% and low inflation, Mozambique is catching up with many of its neighbours after a long battle for independence and a particularly brutal civil war.

International investors, especially those from neighbouring South Africa, are pumping money into Mozambique, creating something of a boom in parts of the country.

The problem for the government is that the benefits of that economic growth are not being widely felt. Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama argues that this is due to corruption.

Mr Chissano has warned that a split between the presidency and the parliament could bring Mozambique's economic progress to a halt.

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See also:
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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