Early Election Results Signal Victory for Angola’s Ruling Party

Posted September 1st, 2012 at 12:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Angola's preliminary election results indicate the ruling party of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos captured almost three-quarters of the vote, a move that could extend the president's 33-year-rule.

Election officials said Saturday that provisional results from Friday's polling show the ruling People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola captured 74-percent of the vote.

The results indicate MPLA's closest challenger is the Union for the Total Independence of Angola . UNITA, the country's main opposition group, has about 18-percent of the vote.

The election is to appoint 220 lawmakers. The leader of the winning party is chosen as president. Opposition groups have complained of voting irregularities.

Election officials say Saturday's provisional results are from nearly 60-percent of polling stations. Final results are expected next week.

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

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.

President do Santos, who is 70, is one of Africa's longest-serving leaders.

Since he came into power, Angola has become Africa's second-largest oil producer. However, large numbers of Angolans remain unemployed and locked in poverty.