(FILES) This file photo taken on August 19, 2017 shows Angolan President and The People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and MPLA candidate to the presidency Joao Lourenco holding hands during the closing campaign rally in Luanda. Angola’s election commission on September 4, 2017 rejected accusations of irregularities in last month’s vote which saw the MPLA party, which has ruled since 1975, retain power. Four defeated opposition parties complained that the August 23 election was conducted incorrectly, with ballot boxes and voter forms allegedly disappearing. MARCO LONGARI / AFP
Angola’s Electoral Commission declared Wednesday that the ruling MPLA party had won last month’s election, in a victory that allows outgoing President Jose Eduardo dos Santos to install a party loyalist in his place after 38 years in power.
The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) garnered 61.7 percent of the vote, and a majority of 150 of the 220 seats in parliament, the head of the electoral commission, Andre da Silva Neto, said in announcing the final results.
Dos Santos, 75, who has ruled since 1979 and is reportedly in poor health, will hand over to former defence minister Joao Lourenco at the presidential inauguration on September 25.
The opposition National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita) won 26.6 percent of the votes and 51 parliamentary seats, while Casa-CE managed 9.5 percent with 16 seats.
Human Rights Watch Southern Africa has urged the incoming president to “urgently implement much-needed human rights reforms” in the oil-producing country.
“He should support free press and association, and ensure that all Angolans are able to express their political views without fear of reprisal or intimidation,” said regional director Dewa Mavhinga.
“Opposition parties’ claims that elections were marred by irregularities, such as the disappearance of ballot boxes, should be promptly investigated by a competent and impartial body,” he added.
On Sunday, four defeated opposition parties called for a recount of the August 23 vote, complaining that the election was conducted incorrectly, with ballot boxes and voter forms allegedly disappearing.
But the electoral commission has rejected the demand.
The MPLA had predicted it would win easily, but the result showed a decline in support from the 2012 election.
The oil-rich country of 28.8 million population is battling high poverty levels and has suffered from a slump in crude prices in recent years.