Maputo - The Mozambican government has launched legal action against the main opposition party, Renamo, for moving its headquarters from Maputo to the central city of Beira, the justice ministry said on Wednesday.

If the Supreme Court finds that Renamo has violated a law requiring all political parties to be based in the capital, the party can be dissolved, ministry spokesperson Jorge Oliveira said.

"The ministry of justice communicated the case to the public prosecutor's office on Monday," Oliveira said.

He said the prosecutor's office would take the case to the Supreme Court.

Renamo's move from the capital follows its loss in last month's presidential and parliamentary elections to President Joaquim Chissano and his Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo).

Renamo (Mozambique National Resistance) claimed the elections were rigged and has said it would not recognise Chissano's government unless his party agreed to a fresh count.

The movement has also threatened to prevent Chissano's administration from operating in the provinces where Renamo won most votes.

Beira is the capital of Sofala Province, where Renamo had its military headquarters during a 16-year civil war which ended in late 1992.

Dhlakama inaugurated his new headquarters on Sunday, despite a warning by Chissano that the move was illegal.

"We are not violating any law," Dhlakama told a news conference at the inauguration ceremony.

He said the transfer of his party headquarters should not be seen as part of preparations for a new civil war, explaining that it was merely aimed at facilitating communication with party activists. - Sapa-AFP