Mozambique starts voter registration

A voter registration programme began in Mozambique on 25 May and runs until 23 July, ahead of the nation's presidential election in 2014.

The registration process got off to a shaky start due to technical difficulties, as well being unavailable in ten of the country's 53 municipalities. Electoral authorities are working to introduce the registration programme to the ten towns recently upgraded to municipal status by parliament.

The electorate has been advised that cards issued for previous elections are no longer valid, and voters must register all over again.

The registration comes amid the worst political violence witnessed by Mozambique in more than a decade, between controversial political group Renamo and police. Renamo has an estimated 1,000 former guerrillas behind it and carried out a string of attacks in April that led to seven deaths.

The group has rejected the registration process as illegitimate, claiming that the National Election Committee is dominated unfairly by the ruling party Frelimo, its main rival. Renamo has threatened to disrupt voter registration although there have been no reports so far of conflict.

Frelimo has dominated Mozambican politics since 1992 following the end of the 16-year civil war it fought against Renamo from 1977. Analysts believe that Frelimo is on track for another landslide victory in 2014 after it obtained 75 per cent of the vote in 2009.

In the past, elections have resulted in deadly political violence between Frelimo and Renamo.