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Angola's ruling party wins election, provisional results show; opposition cries foul

Jose dos Santos.Angola’s ruling MPLA party has convincingly won the general election, the electoral commission said on Friday citing provisional results, but the main opposition rejected the outcome.

The MPLA took 61.10 percent of the votes counted compared with the opposition UNITA party’s 26.71 percent, results showed.

UNITA said the numbers had not been gathered transparently and did not tally with their own count.

After a peaceful election on Wednesday, former MPLA defence minister Joao Lourenco is expected to become Angola’s first new president for 38 years, replacing Jose Eduardo dos Santos who, however, will remain party leader.

So far, 97.82 percent of the votes cast during the election in sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest economy have been counted, said Júlia Ferreira, a spokeswoman for the National Electoral Commission.

The electoral commission said the MPLA have won 150 of 220 parliamentary seats, giving them the two thirds majority needed to pass any type of legislation without help from another party.

With 97.82 percent of the vote counted, the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) took an unassailable lead with the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) crying foul.

“The process violated the law and the principles of democracy,” Claudio Silva, who sits on the electoral commission as a UNITA representative, told Reuters.

Earlier, UNITA spokesman Alcides Sakala had said the party planned to release its own tally later on Friday once it had counted 4 million votes. The election had around 9 million registered voters.

“We do not understand where those numbers come from,” Sakala said.

“Our representatives on the electoral commission were not included in producing those provisional results.”

The MPLA and UNITA fought on opposing sides in a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002.

Angola has been mostly peaceful since. But the OPEC member, Africa's second largest oil producer, is in dire need of reforms to boost an economy hammered in the last three years by suppressed crude prices.

Lourenco has vowed to revive the economy and has not ruled out deals with the World Bank and IMF to help restructure an economy that is overly dependent on oil. Angola imports at huge cost everything from washing powder to long-life milk.

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