Angola Opposition Parties Call For Votes Recount

UNITA (The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) leader Isaias Samakuva (2R) takes part in a press conference by Angolan opposition leaders demanding a new tally for the presidential elections, on September 3, 2017, in Luanda / AFP

Four opposition parties in Angola have called for a recount of votes cast during last month’s general election, alleging “irregularities”.

According to a provisional count, the MPLA of outgoing President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos won just over 61 percent of the vote in the August 23 poll and an absolute majority with 150 of parliament’s 220 seats.

The commission is due to release official results on Wednesday.

Accordance with the law

In a statement read to reporters by Isaias Samakuva, head of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), he said the process to determine definitive results “was not conducted, in a large number of cases, in accordance with the law”.

The statement was signed by three other leaders of Angola’s main opposition parties.

Besides “irregularities,” the coalition cited “the disappearance of ballot boxes, the appearance of new ballot boxes, the disappearance of voting forms” and “the illegal presence of foreign individuals”.

But it also alleged that the electoral process was “unconstitutional and illegal” and called for a recount in the provinces by a commission made up of figures from civil society and churches.

The coalition warned it would contest the election through other means if its demands were not met.

The day after the vote, UNITA deputy leader Rafael Massanga Savimbi said the party found “substantial differences” between its own tallies at voting stations and those of the electoral commission.

Opposition leaders across Africa, long frustrated in their campaigns to topple firmly entrenched leaders, have been hailing the shock overturn of last month’s presidential vote in Kenya, calling it an example for their own countries to emulate.

According to preliminary results of the Angola election, UNITA and the Casa-CE party garnered 26 percent and nine percent of the vote respectively.

The MPLA, which has ruled since Angola’s independence from Portugal in 1975, had predicted it would win easily, but the result showed a fall in support from the last election in 2012.

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