As Angolans await the results of Wednesday’s presidential election, some have expressed being discouraged by early predictions of a win for incumbent president João Lourenço.
With 33% of ballots counted, the country’s electoral commission gave the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) 60.65% of the votes. Trailing in second place is the main opposition, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) – led by charismatic leader Adalberto Costa Junior – with 33.85% of the votes. The preliminary result was followed by mixed reactions from residents of the country’s capital, Luanda.
Though the MPLA historically wields a significant influence on the electoral process, state media and opposition, as well as civic groups, have raised fears of vote tampering. UNITA’s deputy leader, Abel Chivukuvuku, says the party’s own tally showed it was leading. “Our poll counting centers… give us a clear provisional indication of a winning trend for UNITA in all provinces of the country,” Chivukuvuku said in a live-streamed conference Wednesday night, adding, “We are confident, calm, and tranquil”.
Is opposition to Lourenco due to his performance?
Well, there are divergent opinions on Lourenco’s performance. Lourenco, who previously served as Minister of Defence from 2014 to 2017, had promised a new era when he took over from veteran leader Jose Eduardo dos Santos, and has been loud about a list of accomplishments, which include making far-reaching reforms, boosting financial transparency, improved efficiency in government parastatals, fighting nepotism and corruption, as well as promoting business-friendly policies to attract foreign investment.
Key factors that drew attention in the election included a struggling economy, inflation, poverty, and drought. The final results, like in past elections, may take several weeks to be announced.