Elections in Mozambique kicked off on Tuesday October 15th, testing the southern African country’s fragile peace following a heated campaign marred by violence and allegations of electoral fraud between the ruling party and the opposition, AFP has reported.
The presidential, legislative and provincial polls are widely expected to extend the ruling Frelimo party's decades-long rule over the country, with a victory over its former civil war foe Renamo, a rebel group turned main opposition party.
While casting his vote, President Filipe Nyusi called on Mozambicans to show "the world we stand for democracy and tolerance.”
"Mozambique has chosen to move forward peacefully," the Frelimo leader said, adding that more than more than 4,000 observers had been deployed in the most-watched election in the country's history.
Opinion polls predict Nyusi, 60, will win a second five-year term, despite his popularity taking a hit from chronic unrest and a financial crisis linked to alleged state corruption.
Outside of Mozambique's remote north, the main security risk comes from a disgruntled opposition, Renamo.
Renamo fought Frelimo for 16 years from 1977 to 1992 in a Cold War conflict that killed about a million people. It ended in a truce, but sporadic violence has flared in the years since - including a period following Renamo’s challenging of election results in 2014, according to Reuters.
Polls opened at 7:00 am (0500 GMT) and are due to close at 6 pm (1600 GMT). The law allows 15 days for results to be announced, though they may come sooner.