Good afternoon. Although the full picture will not be known for a day or two yet, significant unofficial results from yesterday’s local elections are starting to come in, which we report on (see below). Ruling party Frelimo, and its campaign manager Celso Correia, will be pleased that it seems to have won control of several municipalities from main opposition party Renamo in the northern province of Nampula, a stronghold of the latter. If the current picture is confirmed, Correia, the agriculture minister in President Filipe Nyusi’s cabinet, will be in a strong position to become Frelimo’s next candidate for president.
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This should be enough to compensate for Frelimo’s pain at possibly losing the capital city of Maputo (although the results of that election are still unclear) and also the largest city of Matola to Renamo. Frelimo rule in these cities was not well liked, and Renamo’s head of list in Maputo, Venâncio Mondlane who may now become mayor, is popular and probably commanded a healthy personal vote. Elsewhere in the country, the results look mostly predictable, with the exception of the municipality of Vilankulo in Inhambane province, which seems, like the two big cities, to have been at least partly motivated by anti-government, anti-Frelimo sentiment.