Angola’s Opposition Unita Party Rejects Partial Election Result

By Candido Mendes and Henrique Almeida

Election2017: Opposition UNITA party presidential candidate, Isaías Samakuva
Election2017: Opposition UNITA party presidential candidate, Isaías Samakuva

Angola’s main opposition party, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, or Unita, said on Saturday that provisional results that gave the ruling party a majority of the votes in an election earlier this week weren’t valid.

“The country doesn’t yet have valid electoral results,” Isaias Samakuva, the leader of Unita, said at a press conference in Viana, on the outskirts of the capital Luanda. “The country still doesn’t have a president elect.”

The ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola, or MPLA, which has ruled Angola since independence from Portugal in 1975, led a provisional vote count with 61 percent with 98 percent of ballots cast counted, the National Electoral Commission said on Aug. 25. Unita got 27 percent of the votes, while the Broad Consensus for Angolan Salvation-Electoral Coalition party, or Casa-CE, the second-biggest opposition group, got 9.5 percent of the votes. Final results are expected to be announced on Sept. 6, according to the electoral commission.

Samakuva, whose party fought and lost a 27-year civil war against the ruling MPLA that ended in 2002, said the results from the Aug. 23 election were “not official.” He said the counting of the votes didn’t take place before the electoral commission published the provisional results, and that the electoral body board didn’t meet before the results were announced, as required by law.

“We don’t know where those results came from,” he said.

Neutrality Questioned

During the campaign, officials from Unita and Casa-Ce questioned the neutrality of the electoral commission, accused state media of giving too much airtime to the ruling party, and complained of difficulties registering opposition officials to monitor the vote.

“We all need to continue to monitor those who we have paid to serve us by overseeing the electoral process,” Samakuva said, referring the electoral commission.

If the ruling MPLA maintains control of Angola’s 220-member legislature, its presidential candidate, Joao Lourenco, will succeed outgoing President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who has ruled the oil-producing country for 38 years.

Lourenco said on Saturday that Angolans shouldn’t support any acts of protest against the election, saying the election was normal and smooth.

“We shouldn’t be fooled by those who want to defraud the expectations of the Angolan people,” Lourenco said in a statement on his official Facebook page.


Sign up for Updates

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of new posts by email.