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Angolans go to polls to elect new president as dos Santos retires

LUANDA Angola (Xinhua) -- Angolans are heading to the polls which started on Wednesday to vote for a new president, as the incumbent president and longtime leader Jose Eduardo dos Santos retires after nearly 40 years in power.

Over 12,000 polling stations were opened all over the country at 7 a.m. for more than 9.3 million registered Angolans to vote for a new president, vice-president and 220 MPs to the National Assembly.

Millions of voters are casting their votes in a calm and peaceful environment. Some voters started to queue as early as 5 a.m. at the polling stations that are opened from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

After voting in the capital Luanda, Speaker of the National Assembly Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos called on all Angolans to vote with discipline, serenity and responsibility.

Outgoing President dos Santos, aged 74, also voted on Wednesday morning in the southern African nation’s fourth general election since its return to multi-party democracy in 1992 in the capital Luanda.

He has decided to step down and not run in this year’s election after 38 years in power in the country.

The presidential candidates are Joao Gonsalves Lourenco of the ruling party MPLA, Isaías samakuva of UNITA, Abel Chivukuvuku of the Angola’s Broad Convergence-Electoral Coalition (CASA-CE), Benedito Daniel of the Social Renewal Party (PRS), Lucas Benghy Ngonda of FNLA and Quintino Antonio Moreira of the National Patriotic Alliance (APN).

Members of the observer missions both from international and national organizations are monitoring the elections in the country’s 18 provinces.

Among the international organizations observing the election are the European Union, the African Union, the Portuguese Speaking Countries Community, the Economic Communities of Central African States and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The African Union Observer Mission led by the former prime minister of Cabo Verde Jose Maria das Neves is made up of 40 delegates.

For the same purpose, the SADC is working with 70 inspectors from nine member States.

The National National Electoral Commission has accredited 1,440 observers, including 240 nationals and 1,200 internationals.


Preliminary results suggest Angola’s ruling party in winning position

LUANDA Angola (Xinhua) -- Preliminary results of Angola’s election issued Thursday by the National Electoral Commission (CNE) placed the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) party and its candidate Joao Lourenco in the winning position with 64.57 percent of the scrutinized votes.

The second mostly voted party is the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) with 24.4 percent, followed by the Broad Convergence for the Salvation of Angola - Electoral Coalition (CASA-CE) with 8.56 percent of the votes.

Over 5.9 million votes have already been scrutinized, accounting for 63.74 percent of total votes.

The provisional results show a high number of voters that abstained from the elections in the country—over 1.3 million people, or nearly 18.64 percent.

International observers happy with polls in Angola

LUANDA Angola (Xinhua) -- International observers highlighted the civism and orderly manner shown by voters Wednesday at the polling stations in Angola’s Luanda province, under the general election held on August 23 countrywide.

This assessment was presented to the press by the head of the Observation Mission of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), South Africa’s Miriam Resohoketsoe Keneiloe Saohatse, two hours after the closing of the polling stations.

They expressed the opinion that the success of the voting process on Wednesday is due to the good work of the National Electoral Commission (CNE).

According to her, the observers could learn various lessons from monitoring the voting process Wednesday.

Angola delays vote to August 26 in 15 polling centers

LUANDA Angola (Xinhua) -- Angola delays vote to Aug. 26 in 15 polling centers in parts of the country, Julia Ferreira, spokeswoman for National Elections Commission announced on Thursday.

"In general terms, voting is extremely satisfying," Ferreira said, adding logistic reasons and bad weather have hampered distribution efforts of voting equipment to remote areas of three provinces of Lunda-Norte, Moxico and Benguela.

Most polls closed on time, by 7 p.m. local time Wednesday in landmark election that will see the departure of long-time serving President Jose Eduardo dos Santos who has been in power since 1979 in Africa’s second biggest oil producer.

Voting is still underway and preliminary results for Wednesday vote are expected to be announced Thursday while final results will be reported by Sept. 6, Ferreira said.

Presidential candidate for Angola’s ruling party, the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), Joao Lourenco is widely expected to win.

He campaigned on anti-corruption platform with the theme of "Improve what is good, correct what is wrong."


Electoral campaign ends as Angola expects new president

LUNADA (Xinhua) -- Angola’s electoral campaign, which started on July 23, closed on Monday countrywide, a process that happened without major constraints.

Angolans will go to the polls on Wednesday to elect a new president after President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, leader of the country’s ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), has decided not to run for 2017 election.

Political parties of MPLA, UNITA, PRS, FNLA, APN, and coalition CASA-CE are running for the election on Wednesday.

Each party’s presidential candidate held rallies in different regions of Angola with MPLA, UNITA and FNLA leaders, respectively Joao Lourenco, Isaias Samakuva and Lucas Ngonda, preferring to close their campaign in Luanda, having called for their supporters and citizens in general to go to the polling stations to exercise the right of citizenship.

The MPLA candidate led a march dubbed “March for Victory” in Kilamba Kiaxi urban district in Luanda, an action that marked the end of the electoral campaign of the ruling party.

Accompanied by the candidate for vice president Bornito de Sousa, his wife and other leaders, Lourenco, dressed in jeans and sneakers, walked from Avenida Comandante Loy to the field of the Independente do Golfo.

Militants in party vestments acclaimed and reaffirmed their support for the MPLA candidate, on the last day of the election campaign, aiming to win election on Wednesday.

Also on Monday, UNITA candidate Samakuva, stressed in a speech in Cazenga municipality in Luanda that his party is committed to consolidating peace, stability, development and progress of the country in the next five year.

FNLA candidate Ngonda on Monday called on the national electorate to vote in this political force to allow greater social inclusion, among other guarantees provided in FNLA governance plan.

During the last day of the electoral campaign in Soyo, northern Zaire province, CASA-CE presidential candidate, Abel Epalanga Chivukuvuku, called for a vote in CASA-CE, stating that Angolans should face the future with “a lot of seriousness”.

The PRS presidential candidate Benedito Daniel commended on Monday in Saurimo (Lunda Sul) the Angolans for exemplary, patriotic and democratic civic behaviors shown during the electoral campaign.

Daniel also predicted that such behavior would be demonstrated during the voting day and after the announcement of the results.

President of the National Patriotic Alliance (APN) Quintino Moreira, on Monday highlighted how cordially the parties developed their political activity, during the pre and electoral campaign in the southern province of Huila.

The leader of the youngest party in Angola considered electoral campaign positive in all domains, as he managed to tour of the country’s 18 provinces.

August 22 is reserved for reflection and a day-off will be recorded on Wednesday, the day for the election of the president, vice-president and MPs.

The SADC Observation Mission (SEOM), however, was attacked on Monday by alleged UNITA supporters during the rally of the main opposition party that took place in Cazenga municipality in Luanda.

The information was provided by the Chairperson of the National Electoral Commission (CNE), Andre da Silva Neto, during the meeting between CNE and the national and international observers, having strongly repudiated these acts of disruption that blemish the image of the electoral campaign that he considered satisfactory.

These acts caused considerable material damages to the vehicles of the international observers.

The chairperson, who did not provide details of the event, lamented the fact and apologized to the observers, ensuring that such incidents will never happen again.


Angola begins parliamentary elections to end president’s 38-year rule

LUANDA Angola (Xinhua) -- Polls for Angola’s parliamentary elections opened at 7 a.m. local time (0600 GMT) Wednesday throughout the country, marking the departure of long-time serving President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

Angolan National Elections Commission Chairman Andre da Silva Neto announced the news on state radio RNA in Luanda on Wednesday.

Dos Santos, who has led the Subsaharan Africa’s second biggest oil producer since 1979 and is Africa’s longest-serving leader after Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, announced earlier this year that he would retire after the elections.

He chose Defense Minister Joao Lourenco as his successor.

Angola’s ruling party, the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), which has been in power since the country’s independence in 1975 from colonial Portugal, and five other parties are vying for seats in the country’s 220 seat National Assembly.

Under the Angolan election system, the head of the party that wins most votes becomes president. It is widely believed that the ruling MPLA will win the election by a large majority.

More than nine million registered voters will head to more than 12,000 polling stations across the country from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time (0600 GMT-1800 GMT) Wednesday.

Preliminary results will be announced 48 hours later and the final results within two weeks, according to the country’s electoral law.


Who’s who in Angola’s coming election

LUANDA Angola (XINHUA) -- Angolans will go to the polls on Wednesday to elect a new president after some 40 years under the presidency of Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

Dos Santos, leader of the country’s majority and ruling party, the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), has decided not to run for 2017 election, thus giving the chance for a new head of state to be elected, the third since the national independence in 1975.

Six political parties are competing in the election. According to the Angolan constitution, the candidate of the winning party in the election will automatically becomes the president.

Defense Minister Joao Lourenco, 63-year-old veteran of the Angolan army, has been appointed as the candidate of MPLA.

His competitors will include Isaias Samakuva, Abel Chivukuvuku, Benedito Daniel, Lucas Benghy Ngonda and Quintino Antonio Moreira.

Isaias Samakuva, 71, leader of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), the second largest political force in the country, has held various positions in his party, among them UNITA’s representative in Britain, South Africa and in the European Union.

Abel Chivukuvuku, 59, created the Broad Convergence for the Salvation of Angola - Electoral Coalition (CASA-CE) in 2012 after leaving UNITA where he held prominent positions for more than 30 years. His party obtained 6 percent of the votes and eight MPs in the previous election in 2012.

Benedito Daniel, 56, was elected on May 30 as president of the Social Renewal Party (PRS) during its fourth congress. He has been one of the three MPs from 2012 election.

Quintino Antonio Moreira, 49, who founded the National Patriotic Alliance (APN) in 2015, is running for the first time in the election.

Lucas Benghy Ngonda, 77, is a prominent figure in the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA). His party has been losing ground in the Angolan political arena due to constant leadership changes since the death of its founder, Alvaro Holden Roberto, in 2007.

The Angolan constitution allows the president to serve for a five-year term. 


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