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Moderate Marxist Succeeds Machel in Mozambique

November 03, 1986|Associated Press

MAPUTO, Mozambique — The ruling Marxist party today elected Foreign Minister Joaquim Chissano to succeed the late Samora M. Machel as president of Mozambique.

The 47-year-old Chissano, who is regarded as a moderate Marxist, becomes this southern African nation's second president just over two weeks after Machel was killed in a plane crash in South Africa.

The 120-member Central Committee chose Chissano as leader of the nation's lone party, the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique. Under the constitution, he automatically also becomes president of the nation and commander in chief of the armed forces.

Chissano was a close friend of the 53-year-old Machel and a colleague in Frelimo's decade-long guerrilla struggle against Portuguese colonial rule. He had been foreign minister since independence in 1975, and served as prime minister during a six-month transitional period before Machel took power.

The new president is regarded as likely to continue Machel's attempts to introduce Western-style economic reforms in Mozambique.

There was no indication in official Frelimo statements on whether there was a formal vote or whether others were formal candidates for the post.

Chissano had been regarded as the leading contender since Machel's death Oct. 19, although Marcelino dos Santos, No. 2 in the party and a hard-line Marxist, had been mentioned as a possible contender, along with Gen. Armando Guebuza and Defense Minister Alberto Chipande.

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