Mozambican lawmakers voted on Friday to reform the body that will oversee upcoming presidential elections, in a bid to end violent skirmishes with a revived rebel movement that have destabilised the country. After a brief debate lawmakers from the ruling Frelimo party as well as the main opposition party Renamo voted unanimously to reform the body that will oversee presidential elections in October.
Renamo had demanded sweeping changes to the electoral law, arguing that without more equal representation on electoral bodies, Frelimo would steal the vote. In late 2012 Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama returned to remote base in central Mozambique, vowing to reignite the country's brutal 16-year civil war that resulted in the death of an estimated one million people.Since then, his Renamo supporters have fought a low-level insurgency against government troops, attacking public infrastructure and killing civilians and soldiers.
The party boycotted municipal polls over the issue last year.The crisis had been top of the agenda in a series of negotiations held between the government and Renamo MPs in Maputo aimed bringing calm to the centre of the country.Under the reform the National Election Commission will increase from 13 to 17 members and Renamo will gain two seats bringing its tally to 4.Parliamentary speaker Veronica Macamo described the vote as "historic".