Mozambicans votes, Wednesday in elections expected to return the ruling Frelimo party to power in one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, which is looking to escape years of poverty and conflict by tapping into its huge energy resources.
Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. local time across the Indian Ocean nation, whose 2,500 km (1,550 mile) coast stretches from Tanzania in the north down to South Africa.
More than 10 million voters were registered to take part in the elections for a new president, parliament and provincial assemblies. Foreign donors and investors hope the ballot will help to bury old animosities still lingering from a 1975-1992 civil war fought between Frelimo and its old foe Renamo.
Ordinary Mozambicans say they want whoever wins the vote to use the country’s newly discovered resources of coal and natural gas to end poverty and inequality and to create more jobs.
“The leaders must think of the people, they must know how to invest the resources,” said engineering student Helder Mesquita, 24, walking to a polling station with his wife and infant son.