Angolan President Joao Lourenco narrowly wins tense election

·1-min read
LUSA - PAULO NOVAIS

Angolan President Joao Lourenco on Monday secured a second term in office after his MPLA party was declared the winner of the country's most hotly contested election in its democratic history.

Official results announced by the National Electoral Commission found the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola won 51.17 percent of the ballot against 43.95 percent for the main opposition National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita).

The result extends the MPLA's decades-long rule in the oil-rich African country.

However results in past Angolan elections have been contested – a process that can take weeks.

Fears of voter fraud

Unita leader Adalberto Costa Junior has already rejected provisional results, calling for an international panel to review the vote count.

His party is a former rebel movement that fought a bitter 27-year civil war against the MPLA government that ended in 2002.

Meanwhile other opposition and civic groups have raised fears of voter tampering by the MPLA, which controls the electoral process as well as state media.

A former liberation movement, the MPLA has ruled Angola since its independence from Portugal in 1975.

The party has seen a steady decline in support over recent elections, winning 10 percent fewer votes than in the 2017 elections and losing its absolute majority in parliament.

Lourenco, a 68-year-old former general educated in the Soviet Union, is credited with far-reaching reforms including boosting financial transparency.

But critics say his anti-graft crusade is aimed at settling political scores.

There are concerns the MPLA's victory could lead to violence.

(with AFP)