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Oct 17, 2014 6:31 AM

Ruling party ahead in Mozambique elections

The Associated Press

MAPUTO, Mozambique (AP) The ruling party candidate in the southern African country of Mozambique was leading in early returns from a presidential election this week, officials said.

Felipe Nyusi, Mozambique's defense minister and the Frelimo party candidate, had 63 percent of the vote after counts at almost a quarter of 17,000 polling stations, according to results released Thursday night. Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the main opposition party known as Renamo, was second with nearly 30 percent of the vote, the returns showed.

Daviz Simango, leader of a newer party called the Mozambique Democratic Movement, was third with 7.5 percent.

Mozambique voted Wednesday in an election that was closely watched by foreign investors who see prospects in the discovery of large gas and coal reserves in the country, which had been devastated by civil war that broke out between Frelimo and Renamo after independence from Portugal in the 1970s.

The groups made a peace deal in 1992. Tensions and sporadic violence erupted again in the past couple of years, but the election was largely peaceful despite scattered allegations of vote-rigging.

Nyusi was a relatively unknown figure in politics, but he had won a highly contested party election thanks to the backing of outgoing President Armando Guebuza and wealthy businessmen from the recently enriched north of the country, where Nyusi was born.


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