Maputo — 39 political parties and coalitions have registered with Mozambique's National Elections Commission (CNE) to take part in the general elections scheduled for 15 October.
The registration period ended on 15 June, but since that date fell on a Saturday, the CNE extended registration until Monday.
The only parties who are certain to stand full slates of candidates for parliament in all 11 provincial constituencies, and the two constituencies in the diaspora are the three parties already represented in the country's parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, namely the ruling Frelimo Party, the former rebel movement Renamo and the Mozambique Democratic Movement.
Two newly formed parties have aroused interest because of the figures associated with them. PODEMOS (Party of Optimists for the Development of Mozambique) was formed by members of the civil society organisation AJUDEM (Youth Association for the Development of Mozambique), which attempted, unsuccessfully, to run Samora Machel Junior ("Samito"), son of the country's first president, Samora Machel, for Mayor of Maputo in last year's municipal elections.
It was rumoured that Machel would be the PODEMOS presidential candidate. However, both Machel and AJUDEM have dissociated themselves from PODEMOS, which has opted to run musical producer Helder Mendonca, better known by his stage name Dinho XS, for the presidency.
The driving figure behind the second new party, Nova Democracia (ND - New Democracy) is Salomao Muchanga, the former chairperson of the Youth Parliament, which has played a dynamic role in various civil society initiatives. ND has opted not to run a presidential candidate, but is concentrating on the parliamentary and provincial elections.
The other 34 parties and coalitions are as follows:
1. Democratic Alliance Coalition (CAD). A grouping of three small parties which is running the former chairperson of the Human Rights League (LDH), Alice Mabota, as its presidential candidate. She says she decided to run for the Presidency when she found that Machel Junior was definitely not standing. Four members of the MDM, elected to various municipal assemblies in 2013, defected to the CAD, but were excluded from the 2018 municipal elections by the Constitutional Council.
2. PAHUMO (Humanitarian Party of Mozambique). Won 0.13 per cent of the vote in 2014. Its leader, Filomena Maturupa, won a seat in the Nampula Municipal Assembly in 2013, but lost it in the next municipal elections in 2018. Two MDM members elected to municipal assemblies in 2013 defected to PAHUMO, but the Constitutional Council disqualified them from standing in the 2018 municipal elections.
3. PDM (Party for the Development of Mozambique). Founded in the northern province of Niassa by a veteran of the national liberation struggle, Mariano Ussene. Little more is known about it, and it has never stood in elections before.
4. PPPM (People's Party for the Progress of Mozambique). This entered parliament as one of the constituent parts of the Renamo-Electoral Union coalition in 1999, but lost its seats when Renamo dissolved the coalition a decade later. It stood in the 2014 election and won 0.05 per cent of the vote.
5. PUR (Party for Union and Reconciliation). Won 0.2 per cent of the vote in 2014.
6. PLD (Party for Freedom and Democracy). Won 0.1 per cent of the vote in 2014.
7. MPD (Patriotic Movement for Democracy). Won 0.1 per cent of the vote in 2014.
8. MAMO (Mozambique Alternative Movement). Set up in 2016 by dissidents from the MDM.
9. PARENA (National Reconciliation Party), Won 0.1 per cent of the vote in 2014.
10. PJDM (Democratic Justice Party of Mozambique). Previously unknown.
11. PARESO (Social Renewal Party). Won 0.13 per cent of the vote in 2014.
12. MRM. Previously unknown.
13. UDF (United Democratic Front). Nothing to do with the Malawian party of the same name. It was a member of the Renamo-Electoral Union coalition, which gave it a seat in parliament in 1999, which it lost after Renamo dissolved the coalition. Did not stand in 2014.
14. UD (Democratic Union) coalition. Originally a three party coalition, it won nine seats in the first multi-party elections in 1994, due exclusively to its position on the ballot paper (it was at the bottom of the paper, which was also the position of Frelimo candidate Joaquim Chissano, on the presidential ballot paper. So many illiterate Frelimo supporters votes for the UD by mistake). The UD lost all its seats in 1999. It reformed in 2013, consisting of two parties - PALMO (Liberal Party of Mozambique) and PANADE (National Democratic Party). Did not stand in 2014 15. UE (Electoral Union) coalition. Won 0.1 per cent of the vote in 2014.
16. PASOMO (Social Broadening Party of Mozambique). Won 0.23 per cent of the vote in 2014. Its founder, Francisco Campira, joined Renamo, and is currently a Renamo parliamentary deputy.
17. MONARUMO (National Movement for the Recovery of the Unity of Mozambique). Won 0.16 per cent of the vote in 2014.
18. PAREDE (Democratic Reconciliation Party). Did not stand in 2014.
19. PVM (Green Party of Mozambique). Won 0.16 per cent of the vote in 2014.
20. PEC (Ecological Party). Running as PEC-MT (Ecological Party - Land Movement), won 0.15 per cent of the vote in 2014.
21. PEMO (Ecological Party of Mozambique). Newly formed. Nobody knows why there are three green/ecological parties in Mozambique.
22. PMJRD (Youth Movement for the Restoration of Democracy). Won 0.19 per cent of the vote in 2014.
23. PT (Labour Party). Despite the name, it has nothing to do with the Mozambican labour movement. Its distinctive policy is a call to bring back capital punishment. Won 0.07 per cent of the vote in 2014.
24. ALIMO (Independent Alliance of Mozambique). It was a member of the Renamo-Electoral Union coalition. This gave it a seat in parliament in 1999, which it lost when Renamo dissolved the coalition. Won 0.12 per cent of the vote in 2014.
25. AMUSI (Action of the United Movement for All-round Salvation). Formed in Nampula by dissidents from the MDM. Its leader, Mario Albino, ran unsuccesfully for Mayor of Nampula in 2018, winning 4.2 per cent of the vote.
26. UNAMO (National Union of Mozambique). Did not stand in 2014.
27. PANAMO (National Party of Mozambique). Did not stand in 2014.
28. PPD (People's Democratic Party). Came last in the 2014 elections with the grand total of 158 votes, which rounds down to 0.0 per cent.
29. CDU (Congress of United Democrats). Did not stand in 2014. Its founder, Antonio Palange, recently rejoined Frelimo, the party of which he was a member during and immediately after the independence war.
30. PANAOC (National Party of Workers and Peasants). Won 0.09 per cent of the vote in 2014.
31. UM (Union for Change). Won 0.06 per cent of the vote in 2014.
32. UDM (Union of Mozambican Democrats). Did not stand in 2014.
33. PAZS (Party of Freedom and Solidarity). Won 0.08 per cent of the vote in 2014.
34. PCM (Central Party of Mozambique). Previously unknown.
The great majority of these organisations are political parties in name only. They have few members, few voters, and most of them have no offices, no publications and not even a website. They appear every five years in order to obtain some of the money which the Mozambican state generously hands out to parties competing in elections.
They receive much less than one per cent of the vote, and some of them less than 0.1 per cent. Yet they suffer no penalties. Once the elections are over, they go into hibernation for the next five years.
Registration with the CNE does not guarantee participation in the elections. The next stage is to present candidates. Any party which cannot present enough valid candidates for a parliamentary constituency or a provincial assembly will be disqualified. The deadline for presenting candidates is 31 July.