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Mozambique leader sets date for 2014 elections

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Mozambique President Armando Guebuza speaks at the Mozambique trade and investment breakfast in Sydney on March 13, 2013. President Guebuza on Wednesday announced general elections will be held in October next year. (AFP/File)

Mozambican President Armando Guebuza on Wednesday announced general elections will be held in October next year.

Presidential, parliamentary and regional assembly votes will be held on October 15, 2014, state news agency AIM reported.

The announcement sparked off serious speculation about who will lead the energy-rich southern African nation.

Guebuza, now 70, retains support, but is forbidden by law from having a third term as head of state.

A 1980s ex-Marxist styled general, he took power in 2005 when he was already a successful businessman. He has since expanded his empire with tentacles in media, mining, construction and fishing sectors.

He won the last election in 2009 with 75 percent of the vote and his Frelimo party increased its majority to 191 seats in the 250-member legislature.

He was elected unopposed to head Frelimo for a third term in September last year, but has said he will not seek a third term.

Since the end of Mozambique's brutal civil war Guebuza's long-time rival Afonso Dhlakama has seen his support wane.

His former rebel movement Renamo took 16.5 percent of the vote in 2009.

Members have since returned to the bush, carrying out small-scale attacks on transport targets, while demanding a bigger share of the country's wealth.