Browse the listing below to find government information for Mozambique, including flags, leaders,
and constitution information. Factrover also has complete information on Mozambique at its
Mozambique Country Page.
Type: Multi-party democracy.
Independence: June 25, 1975.
Constitution: November 1990.
Branches: Executive--President, Council of Ministers. Legislative--National Assembly, municipal assemblies. Judicial--Supreme Court, provincial, district, and municipal courts. Administrative subdivisions: 10 provinces, 224 districts, and 33 municipalities, of which Maputo City is the largest.
Political parties: Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO); Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO); numerous small parties. Suffrage: Universal adult--18 years and older.
Government of Mozambique
The last 30 years of Mozambique's history have encapsulated the political developments of the entire 20th century. Following the April 1974 coup in Lisbon, Portuguese colonialism collapsed. In Mozambique, the military decision to withdraw occurred within the context of a decade of armed anti-colonial struggle, initially led by American-educated Eduardo Mondlane, who was assassinated in 1969. When independence was proclaimed in 1975, the leaders of FRELIMO's military campaign rapidly established a one-party state allied to the Soviet bloc, eliminating political pluralism, religious educational institutions, and the role of traditional authorities.
The new government gave shelter and support to South African (ANC) and Zimbabwean (ZANU) liberation movements while the governments of apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia fostered and financed an armed rebel movement in central Mozambique called the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO). Civil war, sabotage from neighboring states, and economic collapse characterized the first decade of Mozambican independence. Also marking this period were the mass exodus of Portuguese nationals, weak infrastructure, nationalization, and economic mismanagement. During most of the civil war, the government was unable to exercise effective control outside of urban areas, many of which were cut off from the capital. An estimated 1 million Mozambicans perished during the civil war, 1.7 million took refuge in neighboring states, and several million more were internally displaced. In the third FRELIMO party congress in 1983, President Samora Machel conceded the failure of socialism and the need for major political and economic reforms. He died, along with several advisers, in a suspicious plane crash.
His successor, Joaquim Chissano, continued the reforms and began peace talks with RENAMO. The new Constitution enacted in 1990 provided for a multi-party political system, market-based economy, and free elections. The civil war ended in October 1992 with the Rome General Peace Accords.
By mid-1995 the more than 1.7 million Mozambican refugees who had sought asylum in neighboring Malawi, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Zambia, Tanzania, and South Africa as a result of war and drought had returned, as part of the largest repatriation witnessed in Sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, a further estimated 4 million internally displaced returned to their areas of origin.
Under supervision of the ONUMOZ peacekeeping force of the United Nations, peace returned to Mozambique. In 1994 the country held its first democratic elections. Joaquim Chissano was elected president with 53% of the vote, and a 250-member National Assembly was voted in with 129 FRELIMO deputies, 112 RENAMO deputies, and 9 representatives of three smaller parties that formed the Democratic Union (UD). Since its formation in 1994, the National Assembly has made progress in becoming a body increasingly more independent of the executive. By 1999, more than one-half (53%) of the legislation passed originated in the Assembly.
After some delays, in 1998 the country held its first local elections to provide for local representation and some budgetary authority at the municipal level. The principal opposition party, RENAMO, boycotted the local elections, citing flaws in the registration process. Independent slates contested the elections and won seats in municipal assemblies. Turnout was very low.
In the aftermath of the 1998 local elections, the government resolved to make more accommodations to the opposition's procedural concerns for the second round of multiparty national elections in 1999. Working through the National Assembly, the electoral law was rewritten and passed by consensus in December 1998. Financed largely by international partners, a very successful voter registration was conducted from July to September 1999, providing voter registration cards to 85% of the potential electorate (more than 7 million voters).
The second general elections were held December 3-5, 1999, with high voter turnout. International and domestic observers agreed that the voting process was well organized and went smoothly. Both the opposition and observers subsequently cited flaws in the tabulation process that, had they not occurred, might have changed the outcome. In the end, however, international and domestic observers concluded that the close result of the vote reflected the will of the people.
President Chissano won the presidency with a margin of 4% points over the RENAMO-Electoral Union coalition candidate, Afonso Dhlakama, and began his 5-year term in January 2000. FRELIMO increased its majority in the National Assembly with 133 out of 250 seats. RENAMO-UE coalition won 116 seats, one went independent, and no third parties are represented.
The opposition coalition did not accept the National Election Commission's results of the presidential vote and filed a formal complaint to the Supreme Court. One month after the voting, the court dismissed the opposition's challenge and validated the election results. The opposition did not file a complaint about the results of the legislative vote.