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Angolan opposition disputes polls with publication of its own count

media President-elect Joao Lourenco waits to cast his ballot in Luanda on 23 August 2017. Photo: Reuters/Stephen Eisenhammer

Angola’s main opposition party is on Saturday set to publish its own compilation of election results contradicting provisional results announced by the country’s electoral commission. The parallel tabulation of Wednesday’s general election will give victory to the opposition UNITA party and show the ruling MPLA in third place, according to Raul Manuel Danda, UNITA’s vice president.

“The national election commission was publishing provisional results on God knows what basis,” Danda told RFI in telephone interview, saying that the national tally given by the electoral commission did not match results sent from each province.

Q&A: Raul Manuel Danda

The ruling MPLA won the polls with more than 61 per cent of vote, according to the count by the country’s National Electoral Commission (CNE). UNITA took 26 per cent and the smaller Casa-CE opposition party secured 9 per cent of the vote with 97 per cent of the ballots counted, the AFP news agency reported.

“It’s a question of picking up a calculator and making sure that they find out the total,” said Danda. Not only do the national results not correspond to the provincial results, he said, but polling agents were prevented from properly observing the compilation, assisting the ruling MPLA in carrying out fraud.

“The official results cannot be different from the figures coming from the polling stations,” said Danda, adding that they will challenge the electoral commission’s results in court following the announcement of UNITA’s own results later on Saturday.

Members of the electoral commission are “not independent”, UNITA’s second-in-command said. “They’re working under the orders, under the instructions of the president of the republic, under the instruction of the MPLA”.

“If we cannot see something done correctly by the electoral commission or the constitutional court then we’re going to turn to other means,” said Danda, “even if the people need to go to the streets just to challenge these results”.

In response to opposition complaints, the ruling MPLA have said that any disagreement over results need to go through the appropriate channels.

“The electoral law took into consideration such types of disputes, so on that basis political parties must formalise their complaints on the evidence available to them,” according to Joao Martins, MPLA secretary for political and electoral affairs.

“When we said on Wednesday that our victory was unequivocal and unavoidable it was because we had guarantees based on the initial counts we had done,” said Martins, RFI’s Lusophone service reported on Friday.

Wednesday’s election marked the end of 38 years in power for President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, although he remains head of the ruling MPLA. Results from the electoral commission mean Joao Lourenco, who was until recently defence minister, is set to succeed Dos Santos when he is expected to formally assume power next month.

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