The election victory was no landslide but the lack of foreign criticism gives Dos Santos enough space to organise a succession on his own terms
The Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola won the general elections with 72% of the vote after spending more than US$75 million on its campaign. The opposition, which took around a quarter of the votes on 31 August, is convinced fraud is the real reason for the ruling party’s success. The main opposition party, the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola, claims the MPLA stuffed ballot boxes and wielded undue influence with the Comissão Nacional Eleitoral (CNE, National Electoral Commission, AC Vol 53 No 17). UNITA polled just under 19%, nearly doubling its tally from 2008.
For months, UNITA has accused its rival of preparing to fix the polls. It claims the government deployed undercover security officers to staff polling stations. In opposition strongholds, especially Benguela, Cabinda and Huambo provinces, many stations opened late. On 25 August, less than a week before the vote, UNITA staged a mass rally in Luanda, drawing an estimated 5,000 people to call for free and fair elections. Less than twelve hours before polling began, its leader, Brigadier Isaías Samakuva, demanded a meeting with President José Eduardo dos Santos and urged that polling be delayed. His requests fell on deaf ears.
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