Angolan Polls Close; Irregularities Reported

Posted August 31st, 2012 at 2:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Voters in Angola cast ballots Friday in national elections, which the party of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos is expected to win easily.

Voting appeared to go relatively smoothly during the day, although several irregularities were reported.

The main opposition party, UNITA, used the incidents to fuel its claims of fraud and said it will seek to have the election nullified.

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

Voting on Friday was for members of parliament, and the new legislature will later choose the country's president for the next five years. Preliminary results are expected to be announced Saturday, and final results should be released next week.

Analysts say the ruling 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 ignored a last-minute request from UNITA to postpone the election, to correct an alleged lack of transparency in the voting process.