Angola Says Dos Santos’ Ruling Party Has Big Election Lead

Posted September 2nd, 2012 at 9:10 am (UTC-5)
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Angola's electoral commission says the ruling party of President Eduardo dos Santos has a big lead with most of the votes counted after Friday's national election, effectively extending his 33 years in power.

In a statement Sunday, the commission said Mr. dos Santos' Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, or MPLA, had almost three-quarters of the vote, with results in from 72 percent of polling stations. Angolans voted on Friday to fill 220 seats in parliament. The head of the party winning the most seats becomes the president-elect.

The electoral commission said Angola's main opposition party had 18 percent of the vote, up from about 10 percent in the last election in 2008, while the new opposition Casa party had around five percent. Both parties criticized the latest election as neither free nor fair.

Angolan state-run newspaper Journal de Angola published a report declaring a “major victory” for the MPLA and naming Mr. dos Santos as president-elect. Partial results showed the MPLA's share of the vote was down slightly from the 82 percent it received in 2008.

Final results were expected in several days. Angola has developed into Africa's second-largest oil producer under Mr. dos Santos' rule. But many of the nation's 19 million people live in poverty.