In a tight race, Angolan leader Joao Lourenco is expected to prevail.

Michele Spatari / AFP

In a tight race, Angolan leader Joao Lourenco is expected to prevail.

In the most fiercely contested election in Angola’s democratic history, Joao Lourenco is destined to keep his position as leader.

The governing MPLA was polling at 51.7% compared to 44.0% for its main opposition Unita after more than 97.5% of the votes had been counted, according to election officials.

A second five-year term in office for Lourenço appears likely.

According to Lucas Quilunda, spokesman for the election commission, the preliminary results give the MPLA 124 seats in parliament and the Unita 90 seats.

With 10% fewer votes than in the 2017 elections, MPLA, which has ruled Angola since it gained independence from Portugal in 1975, loses its absolute majority in parliament.

Speaking on behalf of the party, Rui Falcao told RFI that having to cooperate with the opposition “didn’t change anything” and wasn’t a restriction.

“We have to take the time to analyse what happened, what we did over the last five years and redirect some of our actions,” he said.

Implores Restraint.
The 68-year-old military commander and Soviet-educated Lourenco is credited with extensive improvements, notably raising financial openness.

However, detractors claim that the goal of his anti-corruption drive is to settle political scores.

An MPLA victory has raised fears that conflict might break out.

The official findings did not match their own parallel count, a senior Unita member claimed during a news conference.

Anastacio Ruben Sicato remarked, “We hope there can be common sense, we are not encouraging a rebellion, the process is not over, we must remain calm,”

At the party’s headquarters in Luanda, Unita activists had gathered.

“We are convinced the results are not reliable, the MPLA has lost, it’s time for Joao Lourenco to leave the presidential palace,” they said.

The election on Wednesday was advertised as being the closest-fought in Angola since independence.

Unita and its leader Adalberto Costa Junior are disappointed with the outcomes.

The party’s internal count showed that it was ahead, according to deputy leader Abel Chivukuvuku.

He stated in a late-Wednesday press conference that there is a “clear provisional signal of a winning trend for Unita in all provinces.”

Adalberto Costa Junior asserted that MPLA and Unita were tied with 47 and 46 percent on Thursday afternoon.

Results from previous elections, including the 2017 election, have been challenged. This procedure can take several weeks.

However, a group of observers from the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) stated that the election was conducted “in compliance with international requirements” and Angolan law.

A drought, a faltering economy, inflation, and more than 14 million people were registered to vote in this election. Approximately 60% of young individuals are unemployed.

The campaign was further hampered by the passing of José Eduardo dos Santos, Lourenco’s predecessor, last month in Spain.

On Sunday, which would have been his 80th birthday, he will be laid to rest in Angola.

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