Mozambique, with nearly 30 million people, has a strategic place in southern Africa with a 1,500-mile Indian Ocean coastline and substantial deposits of natural gas. Pummeled by twin hurricanes earlier this year, it has also been troubled by sporadic violence from opposition rebels and a new spate of attacks by suspected Islamic extremists.
Frelimo has never lost a national election since 1975 when it overthrew Portuguese colonial rule, though its leaders have never clung to power beyond the maximum two terms.
Ossufo Momade, new leader of the main opposition party, Renamo, has been unexpectedly effective.
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