Sunday September 2, 2012
Angola: Dos Santos declared president-elect in state media
LUANDA: Angola's long-ruling Jose Eduardo dos Santos was declared president-elect in state media Sunday, even as votes were still being counted and the opposition said it was gathering evidence of fraud.
The government-mouthpiece Jornal de Angola ran a front-page headline declaring "Large victory for MPLA" alongside a full-page picture of Dos Santos clapping.
"The MPLA is the big winner in the 2012 general elections, and everything points to a victory of more than 75 percent of the ballots cast," the paper said on its website.
"The head of the party list, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, is the president-elect of the republic."
The paper made the announcement as the National Electoral Commission said 72 percent of polling stations had reported results, giving the ruling People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) nearly three-quarters of the vote.
The commission could not give an indication of exactly when the official, final results would be released, but that announcement could still take days.
Many of the ballots yet to be counted were in the capital Luanda, home to nearly a third of the country's registered voters, where opposition parties were performing better.
Angolans voted Friday for 220 members of parliament, with the leader of the winning party awarded a five-year term as president.
That left Dos Santos all but certain to extend his nearly 33-year rule over Africa's second-largest oil producer, despite a series of urban protests demanding that more of the nation's wealth go towards helping the 55 percent of the population living in abject poverty.
Those frustrations appeared to have taken a toll on his party in Luanda, where the MPLA had 57 percent of the vote with about one-third of polling stations reporting.
The main opposition, the Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita), had nearly 18 percent of the national vote, and 27 percent in Luanda.
The breakaway Casa party, formed by dissenters from both the main parties, had around 4.6 percent of the national vote but more than 12 percent in the capital.
Unita leader Isaias Samakuva has long criticised the electoral process, saying the voters roll hadn't been authenticated while some 2,000 of his party's observers were denied accreditation to polling stations.
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".
Unita so far appeared to have made gains over its performance in 2008 elections, the nation's first peacetime vote when it took just 10 percent and the MPLA claimed 81 percent.
Few international observers watched over the vote. Teams from the African Union and the Southern African Development Community planned to present their initial findings later Sunday.
The infamously gridlocked streets of Luanda have been unusually quiet since Friday, when the government declared a holiday for the election, giving the country a three-day weekend.
Walking along the city's newly renovated bayside boardwalk, Sergio Jose, 22, said he did not expect the results to cause any unrest, regardless of the outcome. "Everyone should accept the result, for whoever wins," he said.
But officials from Unita and Casa could not say when they would deliver their official reactions to the results, and much will depend on the outcome of the vote in Luanda where both parties appeared to have made gains. - AFP