Maputo — OVERWHELMINGLY picked by the ruling party as the candidate for re-election in 2019, President Filipe Nyusi, faces an uphill tussle resuscitating peace and the Mozambican economy. Challenges include restoring policy credibility and normalising relations between the Southern African country and international financiers ahead of the poll. The Freedom for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), in power since 1975 after independence from Portugal, on Monday overwhelmingly picked Nyusi as its candidate. The 58-year-old engineer, in office since 2015 as Mozambique's fourth president, is expected to again square off against long-time opposition leader, Afonso Dhlakama (64) of the Mozambique National Resistance (RENAMO) in a repeat of the 2015 poll. Nyusi prevailed with 57,03 percent of the vote to Dhlakama's 36,61 percent. Daviz Simango (53) of the Democratic Movement of Mozambique came third with 6 percent. Rand Merchant Bank Global Markets Research Africa Analyst, Ronak Gopaldas, said Nyusi's strong margin of victory would give the president an opportunity to consolidate his power base - both within the party and government - ahead of the next election. This comes after initially having faced resistance from loyalists close to his predecessor, Armando Guebuza (in office for decade until 2015). Gopaldas pointed out Nyusi's party re-election came against a backdrop of a struggling economy, as Mozambique battles to restore policy credibility following a damaging undisclosed debt scandal. Economically, the normalisation of relations with the International Monetary Fund and donor community will be the key challenges for Nyusi to tackle ahead of the 2019 poll, the analyst said. "Meanwhile, from a security perspective, ensuring a sustainable, peaceful solution to the low-level violence that has followed the 2015 election is the urgent priority," Gopaldas said. RENAMO has embarked on a spate of militancy after claiming the last poll was rigged. The country of an estimated 29 million people lost 1 million civilians in a civil war that raged from 1977 to 1992.
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