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Home LATEST NEWS The MPLA defeats Unita in the closest elections in history

The MPLA defeats Unita in the closest elections in history

President João Lourenço is now set for a second five-year term

The party that has long dominated Angola won another five years in power, but with a very small majority, the electoral commission announced.

The MPLA, under the presidency of João Lourenço, obtained 51.2% in last week’s elections. His closest rival, Unita, had his best result with 44%.

Unita previously said it was considering challenging the result.

The MPLA, in power for nearly five decades, has faced criticism for high levels of poverty and unemployment.

Its share of the vote was down from the 61% it had in the previous election in 2017, while Unita’s share was up sharply from 27%.

Unita leader Adalberto Costa Júnior last week rejected the provisional results, saying they did not match the party’s own tally.

The MPLA leadership was holding a meeting at the party’s headquarters in the capital, Luanda, before a speech by the president, says the BBC’s Israel Campos in the capital, Luanda.

Lourenço described the result as a “vote of confidence” that gave the party the responsibility to “promote dialogue and consultation”, as quoted by the AFP news agency.

The MPLA has been in power since independence from Portugal in 1975.

It fought a protracted civil war with Unita until 2002, but two decades of peace have not brought the gains many hoped for. About half of the population lives on less than $2 a day even though the country is rich in oil and minerals.

Lourenço became president in 2017 after longtime leader José Eduardo dos Santos stepped down.

His anti-corruption campaign has driven a wedge with the Dos Santos family and their supporters, some of whom have been sent to prison.

Dos Santos himself died last month in Spain at the age of 79. A funeral was held in his honor in Angola on Sunday despite a political dispute after his daughter, Tchizé dos Santos, opposed holding the ceremony in the country.

But a Spanish court ruled that the body must be repatriated to Dos Santos’ widow in Angola.


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