Tag Archives: casa-CE

As expected, Dos Santos and the MPLA are leading the vote count in Angola

It wasn’t a surprise — Angola’s president José Eduardo dos Santos has won reelection, following the parliamentary victory of his Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola – Partido do Trabalho (MPLA or the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola – Labour Party) after elections on Friday, September 1 with nearly 74% of the vote.

Read about the run-up to the election here — no one predicted that the elections would be free or fair.

From Reuters:

The provisional results gave the MPLA’s closest challenger, former rebel group UNITA, nearly 18 percent, while the third-placed CASA-CE party was approaching five percent in its first election test after being formed by UNITA dissident Abel Chivukuvuku four months ago.

Chivukuvuku told reporters his party, which along with UNITA had complained repeatedly of serious irregularities in the vote preparations and the electoral process, was analysing the results before deciding whether to accept or reject them.

But another prominent CASA-CE member, candidate for Luanda William Tonet, dismissed the provisional results as “cheating taken to its maximum level”.

“This is like a declaration of war by the MPLA … it indicates to citizens that there can be no alternative through the electoral route,” he told Reuters.

Angola votes today

Although it’s incredibly, overwhelmingly likely that, José Eduardo dos Santos, Angola’s president since 1979, will be reelected, and his party, the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola – Partido do Trabalho (MPLA or the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola – Labour Party) will likely retain control of Angola’s Assembleia Nacional, Angola will go through the motions of an election today — its second since the end of a 30-year civil war in 2002.

Notwithstanding the fact that the election is not seen as being free and fair — even yesterday, opposition campaigners were arrested at the at the national election commission in Luanda, Angola’s capital, for trying to obtain credentials to observe voting — one key question is whether the MPLA will retain the 191 seats (out of 220) it currently holds, or whether the opposition União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA or the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) will be allowed to win more seats.  The MPLA and UNITA today are remnants of the two major groups that contested Angola’s civil war.  A third group, the Convergência Ampla de Salvação de Angola (the Casa-CE, or the Broad Convergence for Angola’s Salvation-Electoral Coalition), is trying to bring a new, postwar identity to Angolan politics.

Overwhelmingly, the main issue in the election campaign has been poverty — despite Angola’s oil wealth, over 40% of the country’s 18.5 million citizens remains impoverished.

Until we have the results, I’ve linked to Bonga (José Adelino Barceló de Carvalho), one of the most popular musicians in Angola’s samba musical tradition.

Follow Suffragio‘s coverage of the Angolan election here.

It’s election week in Angola (but don’t expect a real election)

So Angola goes to the polls this week, and José Eduardo dos Santos, Angola’s president since 1979 (pictured above), will overwhelmingly be reelected, notwithstanding the rumblings of dissent among the young, the poor and the unemployed.

The expectations are that Friday’s election will not be free and fair, as I’ve noted in the past.

But a semi-authoritarian regime with sham elections is a vast improvement on decades of civil war.  So Angola’s making progress, in that in the past decade, the country has pulled definitively out of a 30-year civil war, which began almost immediately after its independence in 1975.  A ceasefire declared in 2002 has held, and the country will have “elections” now for the second time since fighting ended.

An oil boom, too, has boosted the Angolan economy — the country recorded some of the world’s highest GDP growth rates in the past decade, including growth over 20% from 2005 to 2007, and it’s thought to be China’s largest oil supplier.  A drop in oil prices slowed Angola’s growth, but the country is expected to grow at around 10% in 2012 — oil production accounts for nearly 45% of the country’s GDP.

That’s where the good news ends.

Around 40% of the country’s 18.5 million citizens remains mired in poverty, and that fact, and the country’s stark rich-poor divide, has been the central issue in the campaigning leading up to the Angolan election.

Political parties in Angola still correspond to the two major groups that contested the civil war.

Dos Santos’s Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola – Partido do Trabalho (MPLA or the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola – Labour Party) currently controls 191 of the 220 seats in Angola’s Assembleia Nacional.

The main opposition party is the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA or the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola).  Although the MLPA is dominated by the northern Ambundu ethnic group and UNITA by the more southern Ovimbundu group, ethnicity does not play an especially huge role in Angolan politics, nor do standard measures of political ideology.

Isaias Samakuva, UNITA’s leader, has called for the election to be postponed in order to ensure a fairer process, and UNITA has accused dos Santos’s regime of widespread interference in the election process and rigging the vote through the use of state funds and through the control of the state media.  Continue reading It’s election week in Angola (but don’t expect a real election)