Angolan democracy turned another page when the nation went to the polls on 31 August. The ruling party MPLA won with 72% of the vote – 10% less than in 2008 but still a huge majority. Voter participation was approximately 63%, a drop of nearly 20% from 2008. Voter apathy could be attributable to the fact that in the minds of many Angolans the victory of the MPLA was never in doubt. Predictions of unrest and violence in the run-up and after the elections were unfounded. The opposition parties UNITA and CASA-CE have alleged fraud and called the election process into question. Their main criticisms are that the Angolan National Election Commission (CNE) failed to accredit party observers to all polling stations and that the voter register was not made public. Both parties will contest the results from some polling stations where they did not have observers present but this will happen within the framework of the law. UNITA has stated that they will provide a dossier ‘proving fraud’. But any legal challenge will likely be a long drawn-out affair and may fizzle-out as the MPLA get on with running the country.
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.
Angola’s two main political parties promised to improve living conditions in the oil-rich nation as they launched campaigns for the general election at rallies in the capital Tuesday. The ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and its longtime rival the National Union for the Independence of Angola (Unita), picked the same neighbourhood of Viana in Luanda for their first rallies ahead of the August 31 polls. Angola’s oil exports have seen the economy of the country scarred by a three-decade civil war grow rapidly, but most Angolans still live in grinding poverty.