Easy Poll Win Expected for Angola Ruling Party

Posted August 30th, 2012 at 8:25 am (UTC-5)
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Angolans vote Friday in an election expected to extend the rule of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and his MPLA party.

The MPLA won the last election four years ago with 82 percent of the vote, trouncing its former civil war foe UNITA and other parties.

Analysts say the party and president appear to retain their popularity despite street protests this year in Luanda for greater democracy and an end to corruption.

Mr. dos Santos has led Angola for nearly 33 years. Under his rule, the country has become Africa's second-largest oil producer. However, large numbers of Angolans remain unemployed and locked in poverty.

Authorities appear to be ignoring a last-minute request from UNITA to postpone the election, to correct an alleged lack of transparency in the voting process.

In the final campaign rallies Wednesday, Mr. dos Santos said the MPLA studies and solves the country's problems. UNITA's presidential candidate Isaias Samakuva said Angolans have an “eagerness for change.”

The two parties fought a 27-year civil war after Angola won independence from Portugal in 1975. This is only the second election since the war ended in 2002.

Under Angola's system, voters choose a party, which wins seats in parliament by proportional representation. Lawmakers then choose the president.