Even though Jose dos Santos and his People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola have now been in power for over three decades they seem to have handily won the recent election. With almost sixty per cent of votes counted the MPLA has taken about three quarters of the votes counted while the former rebel group UNITA had about 18 per cent. The third place party had just under 5 per cent. The turnout was slightly above 57 per cent.
Dos Santos was expected to win the election which had been postponed several times. The constitution has been changed so that the leader of the party with the most votes takes over the presidency. There are 220 seats in the Angolan parliament.
head of the African Union observer team said the election process was "satisfactory" compared to the 2008 election. Pires said:
"Everyone agrees that the elections this year were better organised than in 2008."
Until 2002 Angola was a battlefield as dos Santos' MPLA backed by Cuban troops and the USSR fought against UNITA supported by the U.S. and apartheitd South Africa. Over half a million were killed in the civil war and a third of the population displaced.
Since the war Angola has developed by leaps and bounds and Angola is now Africa's second largest oil producer. However the wealth has still left many Angolans living in shanty towns and having no access even to clean water. Almost a third of the people live in poverty. Even so the situation is no doubt much improved from the times of the civil war.
Not everyone thinks that the election process was satisfactory.Election observer Elias Isaac of the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa said the government was engaged in a sophisticated fraud through excluding local election observers from critical civil society organizations and also not providing voters sufficient information. Many Angolans seem to be disillusioned with the whole process and so do not even vote. However the vote has gone off with little violence and that is an achievement in itself when two of the main parties fought against each other in a disastrous war a decade ago.