Mozambique´s municipal elections had closed peacefully despite opposition boycott.

Since last October, guerrillas from Renamo have been carrying out several armed attacks against government forces. After an escalation of the tensions in November, both parts have showed some willingness to resume political talks; however, no progress has been made in negotiations. Renamo refused to participate in these elections as it claims that the electoral laws are biased in favor of Frelimo and there is no equal representation on election bodies.

Notwithstanding the clashes of the last months, Renamo confirmed that it had no plan to disrupt the elections. Hence, elections were peaceful overall, despite the fears over an upsurge in political violence. The polls were actually marked by a significant voting turnout with about 3 million of citizens voting to choose their presidents and the members of the Municipality.

These elections are indeed crucial for Frelimo, because the government is facing several criticisms over cronyism and corruption. Specifically there are questions whether the government is redistributing fairly the tax revenues and incomes coming from exploitation of natural resources. At the same time the elections are playing a key role as after the recent events the international community is watching closely the elections. The capacity to preserve peace and the image of a stable nation is crucial to sustain the multi-billion dollar investments from major international foreign companies in one of the poorest countries in the world.

Preliminary results confirm that government´s party is leading in the municipal elections. The results are not surprising after the main opposition party had boycotted the polls. Moreover, Frelimo has won in all elections since the end of Mozambique´s civil war in 1992 and in the last municipal elections won all except one municipality. Nevertheless, tension remains high and in absence of credible negotiations between Frelimo and Renamo foreign investment may slowdown.