Mozambique Backs Constitution Changes That May Boost Peace Deal

(Bloomberg) -- Mozambican lawmakers approved constitutional changes that give political parties more power in the provinces, a step that may support a peace deal cast into doubt by the death of the main opposition leader.

President Filipe Nyusi signed an open-ended truce in 2016 with the Mozambican National Resistance, or Renamo, whose leader, Afonso Dhlakama, died on May 3. Renamo’s armed wing fought the government in a 16-year civil war that claimed as many as 1 million lives and ended in 1992. Fighting flared gain in 2013 and continued until 2016.

Under the southern African nation’s new laws, parties that win provincial parliamentary elections next year will be able to select a regional governor, pending approval by the president. The government will also introduce the position of provincial state secretary, who will represent the state in matters including tax and security.

The changes seek to address long-running opposition complaints that it holds limited powers in local politics, even when it wins majorities in provincial elections. In municipal elections set for October, mayors who until now have been directly elected will be selected by the party that wins majority in the city assembly.

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