Over 10 million people will cast their votes in today’s presidential and parliamentary elections in Mozambique. The outcome could prove vital for a country seeking political stability to encourage more foreign investment and the social and economic benefits it could bring. Although political conditions have improved recently, there have been episodes of violence throughout the campaign among supporters of the three leading parties: the ruling Liberation Front of Mozambique (FRELIMO), Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) and the Democratic Movement of Mozambique (MDM).
FRELIMO, which holds over two-thirds of parliament seats, will field a new presidential candidate, Filipe Nyusi. Currently the minister of defense, Nyusi is an ally of outgoing President Armando Guebuza, who cannot run for a third term.
The right-wing RENAMO party will also participate in both polls after it boycotted the 2013 municipal elections. Once again, RENAMO has chosen its longtime leader, Afonso Dhlakama, as presidential candidate, despite reports of internal rivals intent on unseating him. Although still the main opposition party, RENAMO has lost popular support over the past few years, as it failed to provide voters with a credible alternative to FRELIMO’s brand of governance and proved unable to reform its own party structures.