Maputo — Contrary to the initial, optimistic expectation, the Central Committee of the Mozambique's ruling Frelimo Party did not elect the party's candidate for the 15 October presidential election on Saturday afternoon.
Running well behind schedule, the Central Committee meeting did not begin the electoral process until the evening. Each of the five candidates was given ten minutes to present a summary version of their election manifesto, and then had to answer questions from Central Committee members.
This is a secret ballot election. In the draw for the ballot paper, the candidates were allotted the following positions:
1. Jose Pacheco (Agriculture Minister)
2. Alberto Vaquina (Prime Minister)
3. Luisa Diogo (former Prime Minister 2004-2010)
4. Aires Ali (former Prime Minister 2010-2012)
5. Filipe Nyussi (Defence Minister)
The votes will be counted by an Election Commission, and any Central Committee member who wishes to watch the count can do so.
If no candidate achieves more than 50 per cent of the votes, there will be a second round between two candidates with the most votes.
Meanwhile, the fate of the Central Committee Secretariat is not yet clear, following Thursday night's resignation of General Secretary Filipe Paunde. Speaking to reporters in the morning, Central Committee spokesperson Damiao Jose said that the Party has not yet taken any decision on the matter.
“We don't yet know when the Party leadership will decide, but it will be during this session of the Central Committee”, said Jose.
Damiao said the atmosphere in the meeting in the meeting is calm, in line with the longstanding Frelimo slogan of “unity - criticism - unity”. That principle, he explained, means “we go in united, we criticize each other, and we come out united”.