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Angola election body rejects challenges to vote

By Reuters 12 September 2012

Angola's election watchdog on Wednesday rejected opposition complaints that a vote won last month by President Jose Eduardo dos Santos' ruling MPLA party was unfair and broke electoral law.

Dos Santos, who has been in power in Africa’s No. 2 oil producer since 1979, and his party secured a new five-year term in the Aug. 31 election, obtaining nearly 72 percent of the vote.

Main opposition party UNITA, which came in second with 19 percent of the vote, said on Tuesday that irregularities in the electoral roll and vote-counting meant the ballot had been “unfair and fraudulent”.

Smaller parties CASA-CE and PRS also filed challenges.

But election watchdog, the CNE, rejected all three challenges.

State news agency Angop cited a spokeswoman for the CNE as saying that the parties’ allegations were about matters that had been resolved before the vote, that there was a lack of evidence to back them up, and that they were “illegal … and in bad faith”.

UNITA had already said it would pursue its claims via Angola’s legal system. The parties have until Friday to file appeals against the CNE’s decision with the Constitutional Court – the country’s highest legal body.

Observers from the African Union, the Southern African Development Community, and the Community of Portuguese-Speaking States said the election had been credible.

The United States last week said it considered the ballot well-managed, but acknowledged “important concerns” raised by opposition parties. 

It was only the third national election since Angola won independence from Portugal in 1975, and the second since the end in 2002 of a 27-year civil war. DM

Photo: President Dos Santos (Reuters)

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