Maputo — Beira (Mozambique), 11 Oct (AIM) - The Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) has announced its victory in Wednesday's municipal elections in the central city of Beira, where its leader, Daviz Simango, was running for a fourth term as mayor.
At a Beira press conference on Thursday morning, the spokesperson for the MDM election campaign, Carla de Almeida, declared that the MDM had won with 79,779 votes against 50,567 for the ruling Frelimo Party, 42,769 for the former rebel movement Renamo and 460 for a coalition of tiny parties known as E-Povo.
"Our MDM team didn't win on its own", said Almeida. "We won. Everything that the MDM team achieved, it was we, the people of Beira, who achieved it".
Although Simango has won his fourth term, the strength shown by Frelimo and Renamo may make governing Beira difficult. Since the MDM has the largest number of votes, the head of its list of election candidates, Simango, becomes mayor - but without a majority in the Beira Municipal Assembly.
If they unite against the MDM in the Assembly, Frelimo and Renamo will be able to defeat the municipal plan and budget that Simango must present. The next few years could be a time of unstable coalitions in Beira.
A comparison with the results from the last municipal elections, in 2013, shows that the MDM has lost considerable ground. In 2013 Simago won 78,568 votes. Since Renamo boycotted these elections, his only opponent was the Frelimo candidate, Jame Neto, who won 33,139 votes.
Beira is now the only municipality held by the MDM, of the four that it won in 2013. It lost the northern city of Nampula to Renamo candidate Paulo Vahanle, in a mayoral by-election earlier his year, and Vahanle consolidated his victory in Wednesday's election.
The MDM suffered a further blow when the Mayor of Quelimane, Manuel de Araujo, jumped ship, and defected to Renamo. He ran as the Renamo mayoral candidate, and so Quelimane passes from MDM to Renamo control, while the same man remains mayor. In the MDM's fourth municipality, Gurue, although not all the votes have yet been processed, it seems certain that Frelimo has taken control.