It has been confirmed that no candidate in the by-election in the northern city of Nampula, held on 24 January, received more than half of the votes cast, and there must therefore be a second round.
The National Elections Commission (CNE) on 28 January "requalified" some of the votes declared invalid at the polling stations in the by-election, but this made no material difference to the result.
With the requalified votes included, the final totals and percentages from the by-election are as follows:
Valid votes 71,975
Amisse Cololo (Frelimo) 32,037 (44.11%)
Paulo Vahanle (Renamo) 29,023 (40.42%)
Carlos Saide (MDM) 7,271 (10.1%)
Mario Albino (Amusi) 3,071 (4.28%)
Filomena Mutoropa (Pahumo) 573 (0.8%)
As no candidate received over 50 per cent of the vote, a second round must be held between the two candidates with the most votes, Cololo and Vahanle.
Speaking in Nampula at a Saturday press conference, Frelimo Political Commission member Tomaz Salomao claimed Frelimo was comfortable with the first round results. The numbers showed that Cololo "is leading without any doubt", he said.
Sitting beside Salomao, Cololo denied rumours circulating on social media that he had suffered a stroke when it became clear that he had not won in the first round. Cololo certainly appeared perfectly healthy as he addressed the media.
Renamo has grounds for optimism about the second round, in that a large proportion of those who voted for the MDM are expected to vote for Vahanle than for Cololo in the run-off.
However, almost 75 per cent of Nampula's registered voters did not vote and the two candidates will also be seeking these abstainers.
The MDM's poor result has led to recriminations inside this party. One prominent MDM member, Antonio Frangoulis, who is a regular guest on chat shows on the independent television station STV, openly blamed the party's leader, Daviz Simango, for the Nampula defeat.
He accused Simango of mismanaging the crisis in the relations between Amurane and the MDM leadership. Although Amurane never formally left the MDM prior to his assassination on 4 October, he was openly hostile to Simango, and promised that he would stand for a second term as Nampula mayor, but not as an MDM candidate.
Frangoulis also criticised Simango for picking Carlos Saide as the MDM candidate, pointing out that Saide was a city councillor expelled by Amurane, supposedly for corruption. He said that Simango had never called any meeting to discuss the problems in Nampula that affected the credibility and the image of the MDM.
He declared that Simango, as President of the MDM, "is politically responsible for the political embarrassments which pushed the MDM to this heavy and shameful defeat".
It is likely that the second round of voting will take place in March.