Mozambique’s fourth post-conflict elections, held in October 2009, accorded citizens and the political elite an opportunity to assess their democratic experiences over two decades of transition from one-party to multiparty democracy. Dominated by the two oldest political parties, the incumbent Frelimo and the opposition Renamo, the election tested the degree to which Mozambicans were able to consolidate their democratic gains and exposed the extent of the political elite’s capacity to play by the rules of the democratic game. Despite robust electioneering, heated debate and the exclusion of some presidential and party candidates from standing, the election was conducted in relative peace, attesting, by and large, to the elite’s ability to combine political competition, cooperation and a few selfless compromises in pursuit of safeguarding hard-won democratic gains, peaceful co-existence, political stability and a modicum of economic growth. This article analyses Mozambique’s 2009 elections with specific reference to: the major issues which dominated the elections; the framing and salient features of postconflict democratic consolidation or the lack of it; and the role of the new political parties in the party alignment. By addressing these issues, we hope to shed light on the implications of the elections for post-liberation politics and democratic consolidation.
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Categories: Journal of African Elections