LUANDA, Angola (AP):
President Jose Eduardo dos Santos' ruling party has won 73 per cent of the national vote assuring his government, in power for 33 years, another five years in power.
With 85 per cent of the votes counted from Friday's poll, the state election commission said yesterday that the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, or MPLA, has gained a large majority. The MPLA will control Angola's 220-seat legislature, but the party's margin of victory is down from the 82 per cent that it won in 2008.
The largest opposition party, UNITA, won 18 per cent of the vote, nearly twice its share from 2008. And newcomer party, CASA-CE, gained five per cent. Both opposition parties criticised the elections for not being free and fair.
The elections were largely peaceful and relatively well-organised in this former Portuguese colony of 21 million that is Africa's second-largest oil producer, according to a diplomatic observer.
"We didn't witness one single case of coercion or intimidation. People voted freely throughout the country," Leonardo Simao, chief of the observing mission of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, or CPLP, told The Associated Press.
He said the turnout of 57 per cent of the 9 million eligible voters was good, particularly among women and youths, and that the voting process went smoothly.