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Angola’s ruling party is set to win this week’s national elections, a victory that would extend its continuous rule since the country’s independence from Portugal in 1975, Reuters reported Thursday.
The country’s election commission said that with 97 percent of the votes counted, the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) led with 51.7 percent of the vote. The main opposition Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) had about 44.5 percent, election officials said.
If the ratio of the votes remains as they are, the win would give incumbent President Joao Lourenco a second five-year term.
However, UNITA representatives previously claimed they were likely the true victors. They questioned whether the announced results were “the real ones.” raising concerns of potential post-election violence.
The government deployed about 80,000 police officers across the country to prevent possible unrest.
The two parties have been rivals since before Angola gained independence and went on to sporadically wage a civil war for more than 25 years, in which hundreds of thousands of people were killed.
Political analysts noted that even if UNITA lost, this was the MPLA’s worst result yet. They added that many young voters in the capital, Luanda, voted in favor of UNITA – which even MPLA officials acknowledged as a “significant defeat.”
The recent polls come amid growing resentment among young Angolans toward the MPLA for being excluded from the benefits of their nation’s oil-fueled booms.
The southern African country is the second-biggest oil producer on the continent. Still, half of the population remains poor despite rapid economic growth caused by oil exports.