The party of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos (photo) looked set to win Angola's first election in 16 years, according to preliminary results. But the opposition is planning to contest, claiming the elections were illegitimate.
The dispute over the poll, the first to be held in 16 years, threatens to shatter the fragile political stability that has existed since the end of
The international community has been watching the vote closely after tarnished elections in
UNITA leader Isaias Samakuva, however, said the two-day vote had been badly flawed, with polling stations opening late or not at all and officials failing to properly confirm the identify of voters on registration lists. He vowed to contest the results.
“The facts suggest that the final results of this election might not rigorously reflect the wishes expressed in the ballot box by the Angolan people,” Samakuva told a news conference at his party’s office in the capital
When asked if he was challenging the validity of the poll, Samakuva said: “That’s right.” UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) has demanded a re-vote and vowed to take its battle to the
International monitors appear split over whether to give the Angolan election a quick and clean bill of health.
Observers from the Southern African Development Community, a 15-nation regional body that includes
The EU team is expected to deliver its report on Monday.
Voting began on Friday but was extended into Saturday because of delays and confusion at polling stations in
The government has denied any electoral wrongdoing, while admitting there had been administrative glitches in some areas.
Preliminary results, based on nearly 61 percent of the vote, show the MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) with about 82 percent of the national vote versus just over 10 percent for UNITA and leading in all 18 provinces.
Officials have 15 days to release the final results, but it is expected that they will be announced this week.
The numbers, if they hold, represent a stunning collapse in support for the opposition and an overwhelming mandate for the ruling party, in power since independence from
The MPLA won 54 percent to UNITA’s 34 percent in the last parliamentary election in 1992. The poll was overshadowed by a parallel presidential race that ended when UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi withdrew from a second round after accusing President Jose Eduardo dos
Savimbi resumed his guerrilla war against Dos Santos’ government, and the conflict dragged on for a decade before concluding in 2002 after the UNITA chief was killed in an ambush. Half a million people died in the war.
Government-run media lashed out at Samakuva and his party, saying their complaints amounted to sour grapes.
“UNITA is trying to explain away its collapse at the polls,” Juliao Dino Matrosse, the secretary general of the MPLA, told the state-controlled Angop news agency.
But others said it was important the former rebel group’s complaints be investigated.
“All the citizens have to respect the right of UNITA to challenge the results based on possible problems with the vote. That is fundamental,” said Fernando Macedo, a law professor at
Investors and oil firms are generally comfortable with the current government, which abandoned Marxism in the early 1990s and embraced foreign investment.
But the prospect the MPLA could win two-thirds of the 220-seat parliament, giving it the power to change the Constitution, could raise concerns in markets and Western capitals. It held 129 seats going into the election.
Date created : 2008-09-07