4 September 2017

Angolan Opposition Unites to Challenge 'Illegal' Election Results

Photo: Pedro Parente/ANGOP
Ruling party presidential candidate João Lourenço.

Four Angolan opposition parties have jointly declared that the results of the 23 August election announced by the National Electoral Commission were illegal and unconstitutional.

In a joint statement issues on Sunday, UNITA, CASA-CE, PRS and FNLA stated they would not recognize "any results produced on the margins of the law".

The party leaders demanded a recount at provincial level "on the basis of the law and the constitution". They declared that only three of Angola's 18 provinces, Cabinda, Uíge and Zaire, had processed the election results in accordance with the Electoral Law.

"The supposed count was limited only to checking the spoiled, blank and contested ballots. The process became even more shady with the disappearance of ballot boxes, the emergence of new ballot boxes, the disappearance of votes, and other irregularities," the opposition leaders declared.

The party leaders, who were also the presidential candidates of their respective parties, said individuals who were not part of the electoral process had participated illegally in the proceedings of the provincial electoral commissions "with a view forcing the definitive results declared by the provinces to match the provisional results that were declared illegally in Luanda".

The party leaders, Isaías Samakuva (UNITA), Abel Chivukuvuku (CASA-CE), Benedito Daniel (PRS) and Lucas Ngonda (FNLA), called upon the CNE to comply with the law as it goes ahead with finalizing the definitive results, to avoid rendering the elections invalid.

As a way of resolving the conflict over the results, the opposition parties proposed the creation of a commission comprising representatives of civil society and churches to establish the facts and assess the correctness of the electoral process.

The opposition leaders promised they would take recourse to means prescribed in the constitution and the law so that citizens' votes would be counted accurately.

The row over the vote count began the day after the elections, 24 August. The MPLA's secretary for political and electoral affairs, João "Jú" Martins, announced with at least five million of the nine million ballots having been counted, "the MPLA can guarantee that it has secured a qualified majority": that is, the 66% of seats in parliament required to force through constitutional changes.

On August 25, CNE spokesperson Júlia Ferreira announced provisional national results before votes had been counted in any of Angola's 18 provinces. The CNE initially declared the MPLA had 64.57% of the vote.

Opposition parties and civil society protested that the announcement of the results did not follow the tallying process as laid down by the law. As always, Portugal was the first country to confer international legitimacy on the results, when President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa congratulated the MPLA and its presidential candidate João Lourenço on their supposed victory.

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