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Initial poll results are rejected by Angola’s opposition

Initial poll results are rejected by Angola's opposition

Initial poll results are rejected by Angola’s opposition


The head of the opposition in Angola on Friday rejected early election results that indicate President Joao Lourenco will retain his seat in spite of the most contested polls the nation has seen since independence.

The People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), which has controlled the oil-rich country for close to 50 years, declared victory in this week’s election with a “comfortable majority.”

The final results have not yet been made public.

But a preliminary count late on Thursday revealed that the MPLA had received 51.07 percent of the vote after 97.9 percent of the votes had been counted.

In the polls conducted on Wednesday, it gave its biggest opponent, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), 44.05 percent of the vote.

Adalberto Costa Junior, the leader of UNITA, declared late on Friday that his party “does not recognize the interim results.”

He said that the opposition party had carried out its own vote tally and discovered inconsistencies.

Costa Junior demanded that the count be reviewed by an international panel.

He informed a joyful mob of supporters, “We can affirm with complete assurance that the MPLA did not win the elections,”

Political upheaval

Opposition and civic groups have recently stoked concerns about voter tampering. The MPLA traditionally wields influence over the electoral process and official media.

The African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) expressed concerns about a variety of issues, including a lack of national observers, issues with the electoral roll, and biased reporting by state-owned media.

Final results are not out yet, but Joao Lourenco looks set to remain Angola’s president. By JOHN WESSELS (AFP)

Although several polling places opened and closed at odd hours, the SADC reported voting was “peaceful, calm, and well organized.”

Anyone with reservations about the outcomes was advised to “channel their grievances through existing legal mechanisms.”

The AU, on the other hand, recognized “some restrictions on the freedom of the press and the ability to obtain information.”

Since Angola’s separation from Portugal in 1975, the MPLA, a former liberation movement, has ruled the nation.

But in recent elections, it has steadily lost support.

In 2012, it easily won with 71.84 percent of the vote, but five years later, it only received 61 percent.

In the 2017 elections, UNITA received 26.67 percent of the vote while disputing the results.

Costa Junior’s party would oppose, according to an earlier prediction made by Alex Vines of the UK-based think tank Chatham House.

“We can expect… some months of political turbulence,” he said.

“Stop corruption”

The non-profit Democracy Works Foundation’s Augusto Santana predicted that protests would start over the weekend.

He claimed “UNITA is not happy because they think they have won the elections.”

The most recent election has been overshadowed by the weak economy, inflation, deprivation, drought, and the passing of Lourenco’s predecessor, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, in Spain last month.

Urban regions have shown to be favorable to the opposition, with victory in the nation’s capital Luanda and among young people who are fed up with the ruling party.

Analysts have said they fear opposition protests. By JOHN WESSELS (AFP)

“The people have voted en masse for UNITA, and to end the vicious circle of corruption that plagues the country,” said Gilson Leopoldo, a 26-year-old accountant in Luanda.

Although Angola is the continent’s second-largest producer of crude, the oil boom has also encouraged corruption and nepotism.

Santana claimed that the opposition was unlikely to succeed in having the results overturned.

However, if more UNITA legislators are elected to parliament, it may nonetheless mark the beginning of a “new era of politics.”

The times, according to independent expert Marisa Lourenco of Johannesburg, were shifting.

“This is the last election the MPLA will win outright,” she said.

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