Angola’s ruling MPLA party won the general election taking 61.07% of the vote, the electoral commission said, making João Lourenço the next president of sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest economy.
He replaces Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who steps down after 38 years at the helm but will continue as head of the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA).
The main opposition National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) took 26.67%, with the smaller opposition party CASA-CE winning 9.44%.
“Mission accomplished,” Lourenço told supporters at party headquarters in Luanda.
“We’ll produce a better future for the country and the people of Angola,” he said in his first comments as president-elect. He is expected to take office on September 21.
UNITA has repeatedly complained that the electoral process has been non-transparent and illegal, declined to comment after the results were announced. A spokesman told Reuters a statement will be made later. UNITA previously said it will appeal the results.
Speaking earlier, spokeswoman for the National Electoral Commission Julia Ferreira rejected the complaints as having a “lack of clarity and objectivity”, adding sufficient proof had not been presented.
Electoral observers said the vote was reasonably free and fair. The head of the African Union’s observation mission, Jose Maria Neves, congratulated Angola on a poll he said served as a “reference for the continent”.
Speaking before announcing definitive election results, President of the National Electoral Commission André da Silva Neto asked the parties to accept the election results.
On the streets of Luanda, cheering and honking of horns was heard as residents celebrated another electoral win for the MPLA, which has maintained an unbroken hold on power since Africa’s second-largest crude producer gained independence from Portugal in 1975.
Lourenço will be only the country’s third president in that time. A quiet 63-year-old more used to army barracks and the closed doors of party politics than the public spotlight, he has denied he will remain in the shadow of his predecessor dos Santos.
Lourenço has promised to kick-start the economy and has not ruled out deals with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to help restructure it. Angola imports everything from washing powder to long-life milk at huge cost.
MPLA will have 150 lawmakers, giving them the two-thirds parliamentary majority needed to pass any form of legislation.