João Lourenço to be sworn in as Angola’s third president in 42 years
By Danai Majaha
“Mission accomplished. We will produce a better future for the country and the people” said Angolan President-elect João Lourenço said this soon after the Electoral Commission announced that the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) had won the 23 August general elections.
According to final results released by the commission, the MPLA secured 61.1% of the total vote compared to 26.7% by the main opposition party, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA).
A coalition of four other parties secured 9.45% of the vote.
The MPLA won 150 seats in Parliament, while UNITA got 51, and the coalition the remaining 16 seats.
In the last elections held in 2012, the MPLA got 175 seats, followed by UNITA with 32 and the CASA-CE coalition with eight.
The remaining seats went to PRS and FNLA with three seats and two seats respectively.
Angola uses a single constituency electoral system of first-past-the-post for election of Members of Parliament. The candidate of the party that wins the most votes becomes the President.
Before the Constitution was changed in 2010, the President was directly elected.
Most election observers, including the SADC Election Observer Mission (SEOM) and African Union Election Observation Mission, said the elections were conducted in conformity with regional and continental standards and principles.
The 70-member SEOM led by Dr Augustine Mahiga, the Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania, said the general environment before, during and after the elections was “fair, free and transparent.”
“May I take this opportunity to wholeheartedly congratulate the People of the Republic of Angola for the manner in which they conducted the electoral process,” Dr Mahiga said in a statement.
“The political and security environment on the polling day, remained generally calm, peaceful and conducive to the holding of democratic elections.”
The expectations of the SEOM, which was launched on 12 August are guided and measured against provisions and requirements of the Angolan Constitution, as well as the SADC Treaty, the SADC Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation and the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.
Lourenço, the former Defence Minister, is expected to be sworn in on 21 September. He will be the third president since Angola attained its independence in 1975.
Lourenço, who has served in various senior positions, including leader of the MPLA in parliament and deputy president of parliament, will succeed President José Eduardo dos Santos who has served the country since 1979 following the death of the founding President, Dr Agostinho Neto.
The elections held on 23 August where the third since the country ended a protracted civil war in 2002. The other elections were held in 2008 and 2012.
According to the Electoral Commission, more than 75% of the 9,317,294 registered voters cast their ballot on Election Day.
Source and Copyright: Southern African News Features produced by the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC), sardc.net .