Mozambique's ruling party and its presidential candidate appeared to be heading for victory in elections, according to early voting returns and civil society projections, but the main opposition rejected the results.

The first provisional results from electoral authorities on Thursday, with nearly a quarter of the polling stations reporting, gave an early lead to Frelimo candidate Filipe Nyusi with nearly 61 percent, ahead of Renamo's Afonso Dhlakama with just over 31 percent.

Renamo swiftly rejected the results and said they won the election. "We are not accepting the results of these elections," spokesman Antonio Muchanga said on Thursday, in a move that raises the spectre of post-election violence.

"We can categorically say Renamo won these elections," Muchanga told AFP news agency.

Frelimo spokesman Damiao Jose rejected the allegations made by the Renamo deputies.

"There were no irregularities. The process was orderly, transparent and peaceful," he told Reuters news agency.

A separate projection by the Mozambique Political Process Bulletin predicted a Frelimo victory with Nyusi polling 60 percent and Dhlakama 32 percent.

Renamo has lost all elections since the end of the country's 16-year civil war in 1992. Its supporters have clashed with security forces in recent years, but violence has ended since Renamo signed a peace deal in September.

More than 10 million voters were registered for elections. Organisers say the polls have been fair.

"There have been some incidents here and there but in general the situation is under control," Paulo Cuinica, spokesman for the national Electoral Commission told AFP, adding that voting went "smoothly".

Source: Agencies