Angolans Head to The Polls on August 24

Angolans Head to The Polls on August 24 (News Central TV)

On August 24, around 14 million Angolans, both at home and abroad, will cast ballots in what is anticipated to be the closest and most competitive contest since the country’s first multi-party election in 1992.

After a 27-year power struggle between the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), which has ruled since Angola’s independence from Portugal in 1975, and National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, the country’s civil war, which claimed more than 500,000 lives, ended in 2002. (UNITA).

Joao Lourenço, the current president and a member of the MPLA, is running for reelection for a second five-year term, but Adalberto Costa Junior, the head of the opposition UNITA, is putting up a fight.

Joao Lourenço

According to an Afrobarometer poll conducted in May, UNITA’s support among Angolans climbed from 13 percent in 2019 to 22 percent, putting it seven points behind the MPLA. According to the survey, nearly half of voters were still unsure.

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The current president, Lourenço, was chosen by his predecessor Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who left office in 2017 after serving four decades in office. It was praised that he moved quickly to look into claims of corruption made during the prior president’s administration.

Many of Lourenço’s changes, according to observers, were for “external consumption” and did not better the lives of the populace in one of Africa’s most unequal nations.

Next week, thousands of Angolans who reside overseas will exercise their right to vote for the first time. Prior to a change in the law last year, Angolans had to fly home to cast their ballots. The fairness and integrity of the vote are concerns for many Angolan exiles who will be voting in this election for the first time.

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The MPLA decided against establishing an overseas constituency to enable citizens of other countries to elect representatives who reflect their interests. According to analysts, this is preventing many people from voting.

Marisa Lourenço, an analyst based in Johannesburg, claims the decision to now permit those residing outside of Angola to vote was merely a ploy.

Out of the 400,000 Angolans living overseas, just 22,000 were registered to vote. All ballots cast overseas and in every province of Angola must be sent to the capital city of Luanda to be counted, adding to people’s annoyance and raising questions about the possibility of voter fraud, analysts say.

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