Angola’s main opposition called on Friday for the August 31 national election to be postponed for a month to allow time to correct a lack of transparency in the poll and violations of the electoral law. Campaigning for the election, only the second in Africa’s No. 2 oil producer since the 27-year civil war ended a decade ago, has been marked by wrangling over transparency. Voters will elect a parliament and the leader of the biggest party will then become president. Isaias Samakuva, leader of the main opposition UNITA party, told Reuters a combination of “incompetence” at the national elections commission (CNE) and interference from the ruling MPLA party means current preparations will lead to an unfair vote. His party plans to hold nationwide rallies on Saturday to pressure the CNE into correcting what it says are problems and irregularities with the publication of the electoral roll, supervision of vote counting and transmission of results.
“We want the elections to happen. But if the right conditions are not met, if the CNE needs another couple of weeks or a month, we would prefer that option,” he said in an interview. “We have waited four years, another month to make sure the vote is free and fair would not be a problem.”
President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, who has been in power for 32 years, has long been criticized by global rights groups and the opposition for avoiding scrutiny, suppressing freedoms, and doing too little to fight widespread poverty and graft. Still, analysts say he is widely expected to lead his MPLA party to a win at the polls thanks to its vastly superior campaign resources and control over most state media.