Ruling MPLA declared winner of Angola election

Mon, Sep 3, 2012, 01:00

THE MPLA, the ruling party in Angola, was declared the winner of the general election by state media yesterday, despite opposition parties claiming they had accumulated evidence of electoral fraud.

Although counting was still under way, provisional results released yesterday from 72 per cent of the polling stations by the National Electoral Commission gave the party of President José Eduardo dos Santos three-quarters of the vote.

Angola’s new constitution, adopted in 2010, has done away with presidential elections. Instead, the head of the party that wins the majority of the 220 seats in parliament becomes president, which means Mr Dos Santos (70) has likely secured another term in office.

The state-run Jornal de Angola newspaper ran a front-page headline declaring “Large victory for MPLA” next to a picture of Mr Dos Santos, who has been in power in the oil-rich nation since 1979.

“The MPLA is the big winner in the 2012 general elections and everything points to a victory of more than 75 per cent of the ballots cast,” the paper said on its website. “The head of the party list, José Eduardo dos Santos, is the president-elect of the republic.”

Analysts had predicted an easy win for the MPLA and Mr Dos Santos in Friday’s poll, even though opposition to the ruling party has been growing steadily over the past two years, due to high poverty and unemployment levels.

The ruling party’s wealth, control of state media and oppression of dissent makes it extremely difficult for opposition movements. A number of them had initially threatened to boycott Friday’s poll, saying it would not be free and fair.

According to the electoral commission, the main opposition Unita secured nearly 18 per cent of the tallied votes, while the breakaway Casa party – formed by dissenters from both the main parties – came next with 4.6 per cent.

A statement on the party’s website said both Unita and Casa “are preparing to present documents that prove the results presented by the National Electoral Commission are not the same as those tabulated inside the polling stations in different parts of the country”.

The official results will not be declared until later this week.