Angolan Elections: MPLA announced as the winner. Opposition parties and activists call foul play

The CNE (Electoral Commission) in Angola announced that the ruling MPLA party took 61.1% of the vote and the main opposition party UNITA secured 26.7% in the election which took place on 23 August. The MPLA was initially reported to have secured 64.4% to UNITA’s 24.04% of the vote share but this was revised in a later statement. The revised figures are unlikely to change, however the definitive numbers may not be announced until the 6thSeptember.

The MPLA seems to have secured a relatively comfortable victory although their share of the vote dropped 10%. UNITA has increased its share of parliamentary seats from 32 to 51. In Luanda province the combined support for UNITA and the other main opposition party CASA-CE was 50%.

There has been some questioning of the CNE conduct due to the fact they have not given detailed explanations as to how these provisional results were tallied. Some critics have called foul play suggesting  it would have been impossible to have tallied votes of Angola’s eighteen provinces beyond polling stations at the time when the initial announcement of an almost 65% majority for the MPLA was declared (later modified to the 61.1%).

UNITA also claim to have collected notably different results from their own tallies at voting stations to those announced by the Electoral Commission and MPLA. Deputy party leader Rafael Massanga Savimbi  has stated they do not accept the result and have demanded the CNE explain to the Angolan public ‘what it did wrong and why it did it’. UNITA have announced they will release their full results in the coming days, although parallel counts for four of Angola’s eighteen provinces, Huambo, Bie, Cabinda and Luanda, already released by the group have shown UNITA doing better than commission results suggested.

There have been allegations of misconduct regarding the run-up to the elections, with criticism from national and international rights activists, as well as opposition parties UNITA and CASA-CE. All  critics suggest voter manipulation through depriving opposition groups access to the media. In the run-up to the elections Human Rights Watch claimed the environment was ‘marred by severe restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly’.   Maka Angola has also criticised the international community and media for its role, claiming they had ‘concluded before a single vote was cast, that the MPLA would win comfortably’.

Yet despite widely published criticisms of the election, CNE,and Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission have declared the elections free and fair. International observers have reported the atmosphere in the nation’s capital, Luanda, to be relatively calm. Official results will be published by the 6th September.

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Robyn K