Parties push for final votes

MAPUTO - Mozambique's political parties made their final push for votes yesterday, the last day of campaigning before Wednesday's elections.

MAPUTO - Mozambique's political parties made their final push for votes yesterday, the last day of campaigning before Wednesday's elections.

The elections are widely expected to be won by the ruling party Frelimo.

With Mozambique's opposition divided by a recent split, getting out the vote is seen as crucial in a race where turnout will be the measure of satisfaction for incumbent President Armando Guebuza and Frelimo, the party that has governed Mozambique since independence in 1975.

"Guebuza's biggest opponent is going to be voter turnout," said Anne Pitcher, a political scientist at the University of Michigan.

"That says as much about Frelimo as a vigorous opposition," Pitcher said.

"If they get a 36percent turnout again," she said, referring to the rate from the 2004 election, "it's just a very negative statement aboutGuebuza's time as president."

Each of the three candidates for president had scheduled large rallies for yesterday in a final bid to get supporters to the polls.

In all, 17 political parties and two coalitions are competing for ballots from Mozambique's almost 10million voters in presidential, parliamentary and provincial races. - Sapa-AFP

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