Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo party picks Defense Minister Filipe Nyussi as its presidential candidate

MATOLA: Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo party picked Defence Minister Filipe Nyussi as its presidential candidate late yesterday, a decision likely to see current President Armando Guebuza maintain influence even after he steps down following October polls.

‘Filipe Nyussi won with 68 percent,’ party spokesman Damiao Jose told AFP early today following two rounds of voting.

Members of the party’s powerful central committee burst into song and jostled to congratulate the minister after its caucus ended at midnight in the city Matola outside the capital Maputo.

Frelimo — a formerly Marxist-Leninist but now avowedly capitalist party — has won every election since Mozambique’s civil war ended 21 years ago, and is expected to do so again in October.

This means Nyussi is effectively president-in-waiting.

Armando Guebuza is set to step down as president of the resource-rich country after his two terms are up, but retains the party leadership.