Angola’s electoral commission on Thursday said the ruling party has garnered a solid majority after nearly all votes were counted in the recently held national election, reported The Reuters. The vote counting began after polls closed on Wednesday in the oil-rich nation.
As per results published by the country’s electoral commission, the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) led by President Joao Lourenco, got 51.07 percent of the vote with more than 97 percent of ballots counted.
The main opposition group, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), led by Adalberto Costa Junior, got 44.05 percent of the vote – a huge jump from 26.67 percent in the 2017 election.
The opposition group had previously said that it was considering contesting the results because they did not correspond to reality.
“We hope there can be common sense, we are not encouraging a rebellion, the process is not over, we must remain calm,” senior Unita member Anastacio Ruben Sicato was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.
Wednesday’s poll had been billed as Angola’s most closely-fought election since independence in 1975. More than 14 million Angolans registered to cast ballots.
Notably, the MPLA has ruled Angola for nearly 50 years after the country gained independence from Portugal. The ruling party is criticized for not containing high unemployment, inflation and poverty.
Angolans remain one of the poorest people in the world despite the country’s wealth.
Mr. Lourenco came to power in 2017 after long-standing leader Jose Eduardo dos Santos stood down. Santos died last month at age 79 at a clinic in Barcelona, following a long illness. His body was repatriated last weekend and is expected to be buried Aug. 28, his birthday.
The Angolan president’s anti-corruption campaign has opened a rift with the Dos Santos family, some of whom have been sent to prison.