In Angola, a tribute and electoral disputes

On Saturday, August 27 in the morning, the funeral procession carrying the former Angolan president with a controversial legacy, José Eduardo dos Santos, entered Republic Square, in the center of the capital. He is to be displayed in a square in Luanda ahead of the state funeral scheduled for Sunday, the day he would have turned 80. Black flags are flying at the scene. Large posters pay homage to « Zedu »nickname of dos Santos: “Farewell beloved President”, « Forever Our Commander »or “Zédu, man of the people”.

Never directly elected but at the head of the country for thirty-eight years (1979-2017), José Eduardo dos Santos died last month, at the age of 79, in a clinic in Barcelona. He is accused of having embezzled billions for the benefit of his family and loved ones.

These tributes come a few days after Angolans voted on Wednesday August 24 to choose their deputies in a ballot that will decide the next president. In the former Portuguese colony, independent since 1975, the head of the list of the winning party in the legislative elections is invested with the functions of head of state.

Verification commission

However, the opposition contested on Friday the preliminary results giving a probable victory to the ruling party, after counting more than 97% of the votes cast. The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) led by outgoing President Joao Lourenço has so far won with 51.07% of the vote, according to the electoral commission.

The first opposition party, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita), led by Adalberto Costa Junior, is credited with 44.05%. “Unita does not recognize the provisional results of the electoral commission”said the leader of the party that carried out its own count, Adalberto Costa Junior, during a press conference in Luanda. « The MPLA did not win the elections »he added, calling for the creation of a verification commission.

In Angola, police forces still just as violent

The final scores had still not been announced late in the evening. Already in 2017, the opposition challenged the results. The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) retained victory with 61% of the vote against 26.67% (Unita).

Fraud fears

Fears of fraud had been raised before the last election, with a ruling party that has control over the electoral process and the public media. Observers from the African Union and the Southern African Development Community on Friday expressed their « concerns » particularly with regard to the electoral lists.

Even if these results are confirmed, it would be the lowest score ever recorded by the MPLA. The latter has already lost the two-thirds majority in Parliament, which has so far allowed it to pass laws without the support of another party, with 124 seats out of 220 so far.


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